Title of the film: A Day Without a Mexican
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Date of production: May 14, 2004
Producers: Sergio Arau
Writers: Sergio Arau, Yareli Arizmendi, Sergio Guerrero and Sarah Polley
I selected this film due to its relevance to the contemporary American society. It addresses the importance of Mexicans to the American community despite the discrimination they face from American citizens. A mysterious fog strikes the state of California, and all Mexicans disappear. Scientists, politicians, farmers and all other citizens of America miss their services.
Before I watched the movie, these were the expectations I had:
- I expected a movie that shows how Americans celebrate the disappearance of Mexicans. The title suggests that the Americans have been longing for the day when there would be no Mexicans.
- I also anticipated a film full of violence against Mexicans.
- I expected that the movie would describe the best ways for eradicating all Mexicans from California and the other parts of the US.
This film describes a social concern. It tells the American society that Mexicans are helpful to their nation, and are not entirely bad as they always think. It reminds them that in case the Mexicans left, the whole of the US would miss them.
The film uses twenty-two soundtracks to reinforce its main theme. Most of these tracks are by Sergio Arau. Among the songs are a Day Without a Mexican, My Husband is a Mexican and California Dreaming. The themes of these songs are evident in their titles. They all talk about the implications of Mexicans’ departure from the US.
The director of the movie allows the characters’ voices to dominate the film. A narrator with a male voice narrates the occurrences with a serious tone in some parts of the film. The dominance of direct speech from characters helps convince the audience that Mexicans are important to the economy of California and the entire American society. The male narrator’s serious tone further reiterates this message.
The producer uses characters in specific contexts and eliminates unnecessary noises in the background. Mexicans make noises in both Spanish and English in the background. Their shouting is mainly a demonstration against mistreatment.
The filmmakers do not interview anybody. They mostly use dramatization of events. Dramatization helps viewers see the importance of Mexicans through creating an imaginary situation, where all Mexicans disappear. No one remains behind to work for the natives of America.
The male voice that narrates the events in the movie creates a serious mood. It leaves a big impression on viewers who used to mistreat their workers. When the Mexicans leave, all the American citizens remain in a state of confusion. They do not know what to do.
The central message in this film is the importance of Mexicans in California and other parts of America. When the Mexicans disappear, Americans remain without workers. A tractor moves on its own, causing an accident after the departure of its driver and a young girl prepares food for the family after the departure of their cook.
Most of the people who participated in making this film were Mexicans. So, they designed it from the perspective of a native of Mexico. The message represents what the Mexicans in the US feel about their treatment.
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The film is very effective in passing its message. Its strength is the ability to convince viewers. It first shows how Mexicans work hard to please their American bosses, who do not acknowledge their services. It then shows the suffering of the Americans after the sudden departure of Mexicans. Showing the reality in America; that there are very many Mexicans in the US, is the other strength of this film. On the other hand, the weakness of this film is the involvement of many Mexicans and non-native Americans in its production. Therefore, it lacks the power to convince viewers because it is subjective.
The filmmakers wanted the American audience to react by treating their Mexican servants in a humane manner. It succeeds in making me feel sympathetic to the plight of Mexicans living in the US. The film also helps me see the need to acknowledge the duty of servants in society.
Question to the filmmaker
Why did you not look at the negative implications of having Mexicans in the US such as an increase in the level of insecurity and overpopulation?