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A Day Without a Mexican

143 customer reviews

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(Nov 09, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

California awakens one day to discover that one third of its population has vanished. A peculiar pink fog surrounds the state and communication outside its boundaries has completely shut down. As the day progresses, it becomes apparent that the sole characteristic linking the missing 14 million is their Hispanic heritage.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Caroline Aaron, Tony Abatemarco, Melinda Allen, Frankie J. Allison, Fernando Arau
  • Directors: Sergio Arau
  • Writers: Yareli Arizmendi, Sergio Arau, Sergio Guerrero
  • Producers: Sergio Arau, Bruce A. Simon, Francisco González Compeán, Isaac Artenstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Xenon
  • DVD Release Date: November 9, 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002VEZ3U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,034 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Day Without a Mexican" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 20, 2004
Format: DVD
It is easy to think of Sergio Arau's 2004 film "A Day Without a Mexican" as a great idea poorly executed, especially when you check out the original 1998 short film version provided on the DVD. In both versions the citizens of California wake up one day and discover that all the "Mexicans" are gone. Actually, it is all the Latinos in the state, but as several people are quick to point out, everybody from South of the Border is a "Mexican," even if they come from Guatemala or some other place (like Israel or Armenia). "A Day Without a Mexican" attempts to show what would happen to California if suddenly one-third of its population disappeared.

But whereas the original short film sticks to the mocumentary approach, the full-length feature tries to be a real film as well. In addition to working in many of the bits from the original short film, Arau now includes several narrative threads following Caucasians with strong ties to missing Latinos: Mary Jo Quintana (Maureen Flannigan) is a school teacher whose husband and son have disappeared; State Senator Steven Abercombie III (John Getz) and his family have to overcome the loss of their maid (now they cannot get the peanut butter off the top shelf) and then he becomes the acting governor; and television news anchor Vicki Martin (Suzanne Friedline) is concerned about the station's missing weatherman. Then there is television news reporter Lila Rodriguez (Yareli Arizmendi, the co-writer and wife of the director), who would appear to be the only Latina who has not disappeared from California. Meanwhile, an eerie pink fog has surrounded the state, cutting it off from the rest of the world.

The result is a hit and miss proposition.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By K. Ferrio on March 28, 2005
Format: DVD
The premise is as simple as it is ridiculous: California's day-laborers, domestic helpers and agricultural workers of hispanic descent are disappearing. Fast. The obvious consequences could be dismissed as farcical -- if less poignant. But the meaning is made quite real in ways personal as well as economic and political.

The story focuses on a young journalist's attempt to document the disappearances. There is a plot twist, which some may suspect a little before the end. The key themes of this movie could be summed up as (1) not all hispanics are Mexicans; and (2) some hispanics are not Mexicans. You'll understand why those are actually different statements after you see the movie.

The most remarkable thing about this movie is that it casts a bright light on often deliberately overlooked aspects of our uneasy relationship with our neighbors, without becoming preachy. Instead, infectious humor informs a border-defying humanity. Gringo's are not automatically painted as either Racist Neocons or Syncretic Liberals -- those these are certainly presented. Instead, each character is revealed through the deeds which define him.

Watch for the name of the band. I just about fell over laughing.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on October 14, 2006
Format: DVD
Trying to conceive of a "Left Behind" style film happening to a specific race in a specific State is pretty out there. But director Sergio Arau does so admirably in A DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN.

Part comedy, part mockumentary, the film's liberal leanings are sure to turn some viewers off. Taking consistent jabs at prejudices (and hitting their target more often than not), the film takes on the premise that a strange, magical fog has surrounded California one fateful day, blocking all incoming and outgoing traffic, internet access, and all forms of communication. And this weird atmospheric disturbance has also taken away all of the Mexicans. The disruption to the Sunshine State is evident as fruit rots on trees, vegetable aisles in grocery stores go empty, and car wash patrons have to dry their own cars!

Lilia Rod(riguez) played by Yareli Arizmendi (LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE) is a televison news reporter who DOESN'T disappear. The supernatural phenomenon seems to have passed her by even though she's Mexican. Or is she? More unseen prejudices arise as we learn that most Anglos label anyone with a coppery-toned complexion as "Mexican." Lilia learns her true genetic heritage along the way but feels, in her heart, that she's Mexican and promptly vanishes in front of a televison audience.

John Getz (BLOOD SIMPLE) plays Senator Abercrombie who has to take on the position of California Governor Pro-Tem, as the current Governor and Lieutenant Governor were Mexican. Thrown into the spotlight, the new Gov has to deal with all of the chaos caused by the disappearances as well as the disruptions to his own household when their maid/nanny/cook vanishes.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By SeattleSundayBlues on June 15, 2006
Format: DVD
I've heard people complain that they were expecting more from this film. First of all, I'm wondering what it's missing. Conceptually, this film is genius; the title in and of itself perfectly portrays the brilliance of the film's discourse: what if all the 'illegal immigrants' simply disappeared? The economic, not to mention social, effect on our country would be devastating. The film does a great job of illustrating and extrapolating upon this idea while maintaining a satirical, humorous worldview of capitalism; that is, the film is incredibly self-aware. In fact, I might venture to say that most of the complaints alleged at the substance of this film hinge on a misunderstanding of the concept. If 'A Day Without A Mexican' were to take itself too seriously, it would undermine the critical and discursive effect that it might actually have on a capitalist superstructure. By playing it 'tongue-and-cheek' (alongside admirable performances) ADWAM is capable of illustrating the seriousness of the situation in manner that spurs activism and provides hope for a solution. If anything, it's one of the most topical films in stores right now and, given the protests in Los Angeles a month ago, is a must-see. Form your opinions then. You might just learn a thing or two. It's not an Academy Award winning screenplay, but the concept is simply thought-provoking and enlightening.
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