[Your full name] June 12, 2011 Movie Review: El Contrato El Contrato is a documentary film directed by Min Sook Lee and produced by Karen King-Chigbo. The production agency was the National Film Board of Canada…
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El Contrato is the Spanish term for ‘The Contract’. The film involves an extremely poor man named Teodoro Bello Martinez who has a family living in Central Mexico. He had four children and they lived in sheer poverty. The film shows the poor father and his countrymen migrating to Southern Ontario on annual basis for the purpose of picking tomatoes and earning their bread and butter. Leamington, Ontario, has been well known regarding the cultivation of Heinz tomatoes and the possession of great green houses for this purpose. Every year for eight months, nearly 4000 migrants entered Southern Ontario to pick tomatoes. All of these migrants had to be married citizens of Mexico so that it is ensured that all of them leave Canada after the expiration of the contract. The wages they would get were extremely less so much so that such a less wage was unacceptable by a local worker belonging to Southern Ontario. These migrants worked under the Program designed by the Canadian and the Mexican governments. This Program had been in action since 1974. However, the Mexican government was not ready to increase the wages or grant any allowances to the migrant workers. They also could not fight for their right because there was always a long queue behind them waiting to fill in the vacancies in case the working laborers left their places out of objection regarding wages. However, the film shows the workers raising their voices finally and telling the audience about the misfortunes they experienced while their stay in Canada. The film portrayed that the migrant workers who migrated to Leamington were a great asset for the country and its economic infrastructure. This is evident because local merchants proved it themselves that their businesses were at their peak in the month when the migrants came to pick Tomatoes. The migrant laborers were also considered precious because they added to the country’s finances by paying off taxes, buying food, paying their medical bills, living in rented residence, and giving off money in insurances and pension programs. Nothing went in their benefit while all they received for they toil and hard work was a paycheck of seven dollars for an hour. However, they were not in a position to get into a rift with the government because as mentioned earlier, it was very easy for the government to kick them out of their country and call for other workers who were very willing to replace the previous ones. It was also not feasible for the workers to find new employers if they got into conflicts with the ones they were working with. If ever they did so, they would have to arrange the charges for the flight back to their homeland themselves, just like Teodoro experienced. So, none of them ever thought of raising voice against the government they were working for. This weakness of them made them subject to ill-treatment, exploitation and neglect. The film shows the migrant laborers working on two farms getting orders from their owners and working accordingly. The laborers talked about how they were being abused and being subjected to bully. They talked about how their owners mistreated them and how they were supposed to carry out the orders without any resistance. They were not only abused verbally but were also battered physically. Neither did they resist nor did the owners expect resistance. The owners told that most of the workers who migrated from Mexico today were not that fearful as they used to be a generation back. The attitude was changing among them now. The film also shows
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This agreement was initiated in 1966. Teodoro and “M” together with few of their Mexican natives make their annual immigration to Southern Ontario to help pick tomatoes. “M” puts on a mask to conceal his real identity. For eight months under contract, immigrants would work seven days a week, without holidays.
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