– Neus Ballús follows a trio of DIY enthusiasts as they take house calls, revealing a whole new wonderful, fun and colorful world just outside our four walls
Valero, Pep and Moha in Men at odd jobs
Don’t be fooled by the original Spanish title of Neus Ballus‘new film “Seis días corrientes” (“Six ordinary days”; international title: Men at odd jobs [+see also:
film profile]). There is nothing trivial about this film, currently in competition at the Locarno Film Festival. On the contrary, this third feature film by the Catalan director is overflowing with originality, daring and a mad desire to try new things, whether in terms of its actors, its cinematographic language, its improvised situations, the accessibility of its history, the naturalness of its main characters or extraordinary aspects of daily life. It is a film with a natural flow, which oscillates between documentary and comedy while bathing in surrealism, and which does not allow the most rancid cinema of social commitment (the kind of cinema that one could wrongly associate to this film because of its purpose) to obstruct its aqueducts.
The heroes of the film are three plumbers. Among them stands out Valero, a compulsive talker who doesn’t stop to catch his breath, not even underwater, with pockets full of prejudices and unwavering tenacity. Then there is Dynamism, a veteran of the profession who is still very alert but who will soon retire and considers himself a staunch of professional perfectionism. Their fantastic trio is completed by Moha, a Moroccan who has been on trial for a week as a potential replacement for Pep and whose shy exterior hides great sensitivity.
Distraught with love for her characters, Ballús places them in various and extravagant situations during the six scenes which follow one another, in the form of episodes, during the film. Strengthened by the charisma of his actors, the director invites the audience to get to know those around him, the “Others”, different beings but so close to us, and to try to understand and accept them as they are.
For this, the director uses the best tool on the market to unblock mental pipes: a smile. Because, like a water leak, humor suddenly erupts during each of the visits made by our repair workers in the different settings where their manual skills are called upon. And, without revealing the plot, these houses are as recognizable as they are authentic: full of life and experiences, of those which are not only familiar to viewers, but which also support the daily lives of those who know how to make the best of it. ‘between them and get the most out of them in the most empathetic way.
Based on a screenplay more or less inspired by real events and written by the director alongside Marguerite Melgar (a pseudonym for the duo composed of Montse Ganges and Ana Sanz-Magallon), Men at odd jobs depicts a colorful, magnetic and home-like form of humanity where rivalry, jealousy, seduction, demands, perfectionism, friendship and power relationships are felt, hidden under a healthy dose of the teeming humor highlighted above .
Men at odd jobs is produced by Distinto Films and El Kinògraf, under the aegis of the Master in Creative Documentary of the Pompeu Fabra University, with the support of Radio Televisión Española, Televisió de Catalunya and Movistar +. The film will be released in Spanish theaters in the fall of 2021, distributed by Filmax. International sales are in the hands of Beta Cinema.
(Translated from Spanish)