By Mónica Delgado

The Nothing Factory (A Fabrica de Nada) is a tale about the disenchantment, impotence and resignation to change the system, in every way. A group of factory workers in an elevator company is followed during this difficult process as the company announces its closing. We follow them from their initial enthusiasm to the confirmation of the impossibility of achieving even a small revolution. Pedro Pinho realizes an original and heartfelt film on a worker theme, full of testimonies and reflections on the frustration of a work life in times of crisis.

Are workers the only ones who can confront the Capital? Can we maintain a revolutionary imaginary like in the old leftist movements of the XXIth century? Pedro Pinho poses an ideological summa towards the syndicalist world through a known dialectic; a dialectic that the filmmaker uses to measure a generational nostalgic common sense about old conquers of rights that slowly lose their breath.

In one of the initial shots, a poster of the film Before there was punk, there was a band called Death is shown in the room of one of the main characters, a young family man. This detail can only talk about the musical taste of the character (an employee of the factory who sings in a rock band in his free times) but also, it allows to associate the problem of the film with the surge of anger and rebellion essential to any transformative process, things that poke outside in small dosages from time to time in this conflict. This sentimental drive, which deals with the social and the intimate, makes this resistance a process on a determined structure of feeling which cannot move: the incapacity for association, a commune life, and the failure of any kind of proposal based on decision and outside the Capital.

Pedro Pinho chooses an eclectic tone as a critical weapon in this immense film that passes through the realist fiction to the documentary testimony and the musical, to become a mirror of Portugal from the prejudices, the mottos, the leftist mystique, that here looks enthusiastic but exhausted from the impossibility of making a collective.

A fábrica de Nada, presented in the Quinzaine de Realisateurs, speaks about something no other Cannes film has mentioned: the reality of a Europe that screams for a life jacket, but not because of migration or racism issues, xenophobia or bourgeois indifference; where the only exit is renouncing the world we live in, coped by the result of this economical system: nothingness.

Director: Pedro Pinho
Script: Leonor Noivo, Pedro Pinho, Tiago Hespanha y Luísa Homem
Cast: Carla Galvão, Dinis Gomes, Américo Silva, Jose Vargas
Portugal, 2017