A Day Without a Mexican
- Sergio Arau
- Reviewed by
- Josť Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Wednesday, August 18, 2004
One sunny L.A morning the city wakes up with one peculiarity: every Latino in the city (except one) has disappeared. Suddenly itís chaos all over California. Only one Mexican-descendant woman (Yareli Arizmendi) is left behind. Some hail her as a hero and some wish she disappeared as well. But she serves as a link to find the reason behind this happening, as other people in the city struggle to keep going despite the incident.
A Day Without a Mexican could be better described as a documentary with a plot. I guess director Sergio Arau couldnít just make a documentary because people would have not been as interested (although documentaries are certainly in vogue nowadays). So heís forced to insert a plot in the midst of it all which, if you ask me, simply does not work and borders on the ridiculous. I couldíve done without all the reporter-left-behind stuff as well as other subplots involving a disappeared musician (Eduardo Palomo) and the aftermath of his family, or the senatorís disappeared maid (Elpidia Carrillo).
But when the movie works, it simply soars. Arau finds the perfect seriocomic tone to deliver an in-your-face message. Sure, the movie is obvious, predictable and preachy, but I think it was the right way to go for a movie like this. Since it is mostly a documentary, the director had to have a point of view, and it comes across loud and clear.
The better moments belong to sketched sequences in which we are shown what would happen if Mexicans really disappeared. Californiaís economy depends on the harvest, most of which is labored by Mexicans. But you also have to add the thousands of people who work as clerks, waiters, guards, janitors, etc. And yes, a significant portion of the art world would also be damaged. Even Salma Hayek disappears! Arau sometimes freezes the image to show written messages filled with shocking facts. And there are surely many hilarious bits involving the disappearances, one of which involves a jumping car!
At the core, the main protagonist is the director. And you could say every living Latino is his accomplice. It is a truly interesting movie with brains and ideas to make you think for weeks. Iím glad it was made.
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