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Day Without a Mexican

The entire State of California wakes up to find a thick fog surrounding it, communication outside its boundaries broken down, and and a third of its population gone. What emerges is that 14 million Hispanics have disappeared, with huge economic, political and social ramifications for the Golden State's very life. The U.S. Hispanic population, still despised for its largely illegal status, is comprised of the same "aliens" essential to the economy, but who yet endure its enormous prejudices. And now, they're suddenly gone. How? Why?

Their sudden, total vanishing creates huge cracks in the private lives of four characters: teacher and housewife Mary Jo Quintana, Senator Abercrombie, who is suddenly the acting Governor, Louis McClaire, an agribusiness rancher, and reporter Lila Rodriguez, seemingly the only Latina left behind.

Meanwhile, the state goes to hell in a handbasket in the absence of most cooks, gardeners, policemen, nannies, doctors, farm and construction workers, entertainers, athletes, and a huge portion of the economy's consumers. But worst is what we see on citizens' faces as the fifth largest economy in the world -- and the "California Dream" -- collapse. A baseball written with a hideous message of hate and ignorance thrown at Lila Rodriguez, the last Hispanic in the state, threatens the last hope of finding answers. The provocative soundtrack includes an arresting version of "Calfornia Dreamin'," and occasional screensful of statistics help the viewer appreciate Hispanics' massive presence and huge contributions. Seeing facts so bluntly displayed refreshingly contradicts ignorant utterances of the film's ill-informed characters.

Replete with many misunderstandings, the film is by turne part comedy, part sative, and part political polemic, making it a "modern fable" worthy of its stark message.
Director(s): Arau, Yardi Arizmendi, Sergio Guerrero
Writer(s): Sergio Arau, Yardi Arimendi, Sergio Guerrero
Cast: Caroline Aaron, Melinda Allen, Frankie J. Allison, and Yareli Arizmendi as Lila Rodriguez
Release Date: 2004   
Keyword: Immigrant labor, INS, Mexicanos in California
Target Age: 15+   Category: human rights
Documentary: no
Language: English with some Spanish   Reviewer's Name: Micah
Review: http://MRQE
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