Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Director: John Fiege
John Fiege's MISSISSIPPI CHICKEN is a rich, intimate tapestry of lives thus far disregarded by the mainstream media. The film takes the viewer into the lives of a Latin American immigrant population in a small poultry town... more »
Revealing documentary on immigrant workers
Keris Nine | 02/13/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Filmed over the course of a single summer, there is nonetheless rather a lot that takes place in a relatively short time when you're working with the problems endured by the population of Mexican immigrant workers on a poultry plant in Mississippi. John Fiege's fascinating documentary captures the experience through two young volunteers, a Worker's Rights Advocate from Texas and a Catholic monk, who are trying to set up a Workers Centre to help the immigrant population in Canton near Jackson - many of them with no legal status, no English and therefore no other recourse to basic human rights - advising and protecting them from employer abuse, mistreatment, poor living conditions and low pay.
The documentary is wonderfully put together, showing the expectations of the work that the young people intend to do exceeded by the reality of the widespread abuse of the Mexican population, balancing the joy of the winning of battles for basic justice and equality with the shocking outcomes that are far more often the fate of these people. More than that however, it succeeds in a number of ways - through the openness of and participation of some of the Mexican people themselves, through the narration of worker Anita Grabowski, through some clever scoring of the film with a soundtrack by the local Catholic Church choir, and through the careful editing - in conveying the underlying humanitarian concerns with warmth and authenticity, while also being mindful of showing the harsh reality of their condition.
There is no need to be concerned about the branding of Watchmaker's Extreme Low Frequency editions. Even though shot on Super-8mm, the film is transferred to a HD master and looks terrific with clarity, sharpness and strong coloration. What the ELF refers to is the fact that the edition is actually barebones, but even that could be misleading, the film here getting an enhanced widescreen presentation, coming with optional English, Spanish and bilingual subtitles and including an informative 8-page booklet. It's hard to imagine the film looking much better than it does here. It's a fine edition of a worthwhile and thought-provoking documentary."
Educational, unique, a little slow in parts. Very timely
Selqet | Chicago | 10/03/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary effectively depicts the exploitation of undocumented Mexican and other Central American workers in U.S. agribusiness in the South. The documentary is not preachy, and lays out ugly facts in an artistic visual format that lets intelligent viewers make up our minds. The subjects were well chosen, heroic Anglo-American middle class social workers, hard working undocumented Mexican immigrants in a really undeniably oppressive situation, and a fair depiction of some of the characters who are doing the exploiting. Ýou'll want to use this film if you're an educator with a college or high school body of students who might not realize how 1) undocumented workers dón't take away jobs from "real Americans," these people are doing work no one else wants to do, for far too little, and their work ethic is reminiscent of the kind of American immigrants who built this country a century ago. 2) Undocumented workers don't use up taxpayer resources, they get little or nothing from US federal or local government, but they do increase local productivity, and their hard labor lines the pockets of those "real Americans" who so willingly take advantage of them. The real problem for these immigrants is assimilation, in addition to economic exploitation. Those who pick up mainstream American culture, aren't picking up anything good, some of them get caught up with drug abuse and so on. There's also a subtle but complex underlying theme of the paradoxical relationship between the Mexican immigrants and working class African-Americans, some of the latter oppress the Mexicans, some are key in symbiotic support. My main criticism is that the artsy use of Super 8 is a little annoying. Younger viewers have no idea why the picture quality is so poor, there's no symbolism there, and those old enough to Super 8 are unfortunately reminded of being held prisoner in bad family movie nights, or government propaganda pieces from grade school. Parts are very slow moving, not poignant, just empty. Some deep symbolism involving local dogs is stylistic overkill."