A Day Without a Mexican was first released in 2004, and it was directed by Sergio Arau, a Mexican film director, film producer, screenwriter, music producer and musician.
The movie is quirky, and at times cheesy, but it creates a world in which Mexicans in California disappear, without any notice. The mockumentary, which stars Yareli Arizmendi, John Getz and Maureen Flannigan, brought in an estimated $4.1 million when it was first released, and it won a special award at the Gramado Film Festival.
The story has one, simple train of thought – what would happen if all of the Mexicans disappeared?
The answer in Arau’s world is a chaotic string of events. Crops rot in growing fields, restaurants are left without anybody to wash dishes and California sees how important Latinos are to the state.
“In today’s world, this film felt a little bit more relevant. I would encourage everyone to watch it,” said Michael Gutwein.
There is one Latina left in the film who survives the sudden disappearance of California’s Latino population. Lila Rodriguez, a reporter, complains in the film that she is only assigned to cover stories that pertain to Latinos. She dreams to cover larger scale stories, and her boss tells her that if it’s “Drinko de Mayo” he sends her out to report on a story, rather than on a different story.
Though there are funny moments throughout the film, there are particular instances that illustrate how cruel life can be for people who are trying to cross the border. During part of the film, A Day Without a Mexican portrays border patrol rounding up undocumented immigrants and shoving them into vans. When one of the vans is closed, the film shows a baby blanket caught in the door.
The film is low-budgeted, but its message is important in this day and age, as Gutwein said. President Donald Trump has long held onto a ream of building a border wall to halt immigration in the United States. He recently deployed thousands of United States troops to the border where they used tear gas on people who allegedly attacked border agents and rushed the border.
Trump recently vowed that people will not be allowed into “our country” illegally. A Day Without a Mexican shows how devastating of a blow it would be just for California if immigrants were to suddenly disappear.
The film is worth seeing, but one problem with it is that it only shows what would happen if low-income working Mexicans were to disappear. It fails to show what would happen if this country were to be left without other Latinos who have made a strong impact on the United States like politicians, lawmakers, lawyers, doctors and more.
Although the movie is 14 years old, the issue of immigration reform remains a constant topic. While the Trump administration seeks to build a border wall at the U.S./Mexico border to deter illegal entry, there are supporters of immigration reform for those seeking a better life and the American dream. A Day Without a Mexican was sponsored by Free Speech TV and screened at the Alamo Theater on West Colfax, by media, community leaders and supporters and non-supporters of immigration reform. A panel made up of community leaders were asked their views of the immigration situation at hand. Participants included Sergio Arau, co-writer and director of ADWAM, Yareli Arizmendi, co-writer and star of ADWAM, Sarah Jackson, Exec Dir of Casa la Paz Colorado, Rudy Gonzales, Ex. Dir of Servicios de la Raza.
A Day Without a Mexican is an eye opener regarding the status of U.S. jobs and the number of immigrants holding those jobs and the effect their absence would create.