Why Cybraceros?

Alex Rivera

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Staff picks Why Cybraceros?
Alex Rivera

4 Minutes

Staff Picks

January 1–31, 2022

Why Cybraceros? takes the form of a mock promotional film. It is based on a real promotional film produced in the late 1940s by the California Grower’s Council, titled Why Braceros?

This dystopic concept, of a world in which immigrants can labor in America but never live in, or become the responsibility of, American society, is to me not only a bizarre twist on the American Dream; in some ways this is the realization of the American Dream. The United States has always benefited from the low-wage (and sometimes free or coerced) labor of recent immigrants who are drawn to America, in part, by The Dream of economic success. Simultaneously, nearly every wave of new immigrants suffers through several decades of intense discrimination, and usually a combination of verbal and physical attacks. The Cybracero, as a trouble-free, no-commitment, low-cost laborer, is the perfect immigrant. The Cybracero is the hi-tech face of the age-old American Dream.
—Alex Rivera

Why Cybraceros? is one of three shorts by Alex Rivera, alongside Papapapá (1995) and Dia de la Independencia (1997), presented on e-flux Video & Film as the January 2022 edition of Staff picks. Watch the other films here.

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

Film, Labor & Work, Migration & Immigration, Internet
USA, Science Fiction, Mexico
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Alex Rivera is a filmmaker who’s been telling ground-breaking Latino stories for more than twenty years. His first feature film Sleep Dealer, a cyberpunk thriller set in Tijuana, Mexico, won multiple awards at Sundance and was screened around the world. Rivera’s second feature film, a documentary/scripted hybrid set in an immigrant detention center, The Infiltrators, won both the Audience Award and the Innovator Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was released in the US in 2020. Rivera’s work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Creative Capital, the Open Society Institute, and many others.

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