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Questions of race, workers’ rights and exploitation form the crux of this intriguing documentary about Latin American immigrants living in rural Mississippi, where poultry plants promise jobs but little else. Shot on Super 8mm film, which gives it a lustrous, saturated color, Mississippi Chicken reveals the textures, moods and struggles of the New South.
In the 1990s, poultry companies in Mississippi and throughout the American South began to heavily recruit Latin American immigrants, most of them undocumented, to work in the poultry plants. A decade later, there are now large immigrant communities in poultry towns all over the South, and the immigrants find themselves in an extremely vulnerable situation, where they are frequent victims of abuse by employers, police officers, landlords, neighbors and even other immigrants.
Mississippi Chicken reveals this perilous, fragile, and yet amazingly hopeful world of Latin American immigrants in a Mississippi trailer park that sits next to a poultry plant.
Guillermina is a Mexican immigrant who hears the stories of the other trailer park residents on a daily basis as she serves them traditional Mexican meals out of her trailer. Anita is a workers’ rights advocate working with poultry workers in Mississippi, and she learns about many of the community’s struggles from Guillermina. Together, they guide us through the beauty and the terror of this world, as their friendship grows more intimate.
Mississippi Chicken is shot almost entirely on Super 8mm film, which both beautifully captures the light, texture and feel of summer in the Deep South and elicits a connection between the current immigrants’ rights struggle and the Civil Rights Era, when Super 8 was popular.
Author: Kirwan Institute (427 Articles)
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