A Day’s Work is a 2008 short, directed by USC student Rajeev Dassani. The film has won several awards, including a gold medal for Narratives at the 2008 Student Academy Awards. The title of the film tells a lot about the film, without even scratching the surface of it’s depths. Before the film starts, the title could mean a number of things. Even from the first scene, though, the title is understood.
The film follows a struggling family who hire three hispanic day laborers outside of a hardware store in order to help them move. The two parties hastily agree on a price, and they go to the house. Even from the car ride, the racial tension is high; you can tell the workers and the white family do not trust one another, simply by the way they negotiate. This continues throughout, and a major theme of the film becomes racial tolerance and cultural misunderstanding.
The director uses one of the workers, a young boy named Enrique, to counter the hostility found between the others. In the midst of packing, the families son, Zack, begins to befriend Enrique. While they are bonding, a situation forms downstairs, as the family attempts to write the workers a check, highlighting the notion that these workers often get taken advantage of with bad checks.
This is a film that I really enjoyed. It isn’t often that you find a 17 minute film with so much meaning behind it. The director does a good job of visualizing many different, though relative, themes. Despite this, the film doesn’t come off as cluttered like it might seem. Dassani touches on the subjects of racial tolerance, mistrust, unemployment and the struggle to survive without citizenship.