Bibliographic information: PBS: Los Trabajadores/The Workers: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/theworkers/film.html
Brief description: This video focuses on two men who are day laborers in Austin, Texas. Their stories highlight the dependency of the region on workers who are discriminated against. The men are willing to do almost any job as the cities grows and needs workers, but they wonder why they are not able to share in the wealth they help build. The site features a bio of the filmmaker, as well as a Q&A section with her. There is a section with background information on what day labor is, who does it and why. Another section has links to multiple resources on the topic, including links to websites, articles and books. There are also teaching resources with a discussion guide and quiz about the film.
Qualitative Analysis: Background information on the issue would provide more depth, but is not necessary for understanding. The website has a section with background information for those wanting to know more before they see the film. The story will be of interest because it is a contemporary issue dealing with immigration and the treatment of those who come to the US. In my students’ community there are still many day laborers, so it is particularly relevant. Vocabulary is…Some levels of meaning are stated and others are left to the reader to identify. Organization adheres to most conventions, but digresses on occasion to temporarily provide the viewer with a shift in focus to another view point and place before returning to the main subject. For example, there is a shift to the families left behind in Mexico, so that viewers can see how their lives are affected by the departure of the men to find work in the US.
Subject area: Social Studies, Economics
Personal thoughts: This documentary shows the human side of day labor. Many businesses rely on day laborers and would not be able to run their business without them. However, laborers are frequently disrespected and looked down upon in the communities they helped build.
Subjects/themes: immigration, day labor, Texas
Awards: Audience Award at SXSW and International Documentary Association Award
Series information: Independent Lens
Character names/descriptions: Ramon and Juan are two Mexican day laborers in Austin, Texas, working to make money for their families back home.
High interest annotation: Ramon and Juan are day laborers who take on any job, but are continually marginalized and discriminated against as they do the best they can to build a better life.