UCR ARTS has a new website! Please visit us at https://ucrarts.ucr.edu This site is archived and will no longer be updated as of 2/22/22.

A Day Without a Mexican

Directed by: Sergio Arau

2004 | USA | 100 minutes


Thursday, October 5, 2017, 7pm

Free Admission!

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.

California is in shock. The economic, political and social implications of this disaster threaten the Golden State’s way of life. We delve into the lives of four characters: Mary Jo Quintana, teacher and housewife; Senator Abercrombie, suddenly upgraded to Governor; Louis Mcclaire, ranch owner and agribusiness representative; and Lila Rodriguez, reporter and apparently the only Latina left behind. For all of them, “the disappearance” forces the cracks in their private lives wide open.

Experts pose questions and offer theories: Could this be a UFO kidnapping? Biological terrorism? The Apocalypse and Latinos are the chosen ones? Or perhaps they just left because they were tired of being taken for granted.

As time goes by, the State continues to deteriorate: Garbage has taken over the streets and tears are permanently painted on the faces of most citizens as the 5th largest economy in the world tumbles. The realization that what has disappeared is the very thing that keeps the “California Dream” running – cooks, gardeners, policemen, nannies, doctors, farm and construction workers, entertainers, athletes, as well as the largest growing market of consumers – has turned Latinos and their return into the number one priority in the State.

Of course there are those who disagree. A baseball inscribed with hate and ignorance, is tossed at Lila Rodriguez. The last hope for answers has been destroyed. But as despair turns into quiet sorrow, deeply felt memories and heartfelt appreciation yield unexpected results.

Misunderstandings and humorous situations abound, making this a comedic satire…a modern fable, lesson included.

This film is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas, on view at UCR ARTSblock from September 16, 2017 through February 4, 2018. The film program is curated by Sherryl Vint, Director of the Speculative Fiction and Cultures of Science program at UCR, with support from Nikolay Maslov, Curator of Film and Media Projects at UCR ARTSblock.


Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.


Major support for Mundos Alternos is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation.

No reservation is required. Seating is first come, first serve. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to screening time to ensure a seat.

Events in Focus