The Guestworker (2006) tells the story of Don Candelario Gonzalez Moreno, a 66-year old Mexican farmer who has been coming to the U.S. since the 1960s as a farm laborer. He is some twenty to forty years older than all the thousands of Mexican men who work in today’s United States’ H2A Guest Worker program started in 1986.
Despite his age, he continues to work long hours in tobacco, cucumber, and pepper fields, sweating and worrying – all for his family, particularly his ailing wife. He says he still wants to work “harder than all the others” as he did when he was a younger man, but now knows he just can’t. Yet he is asked back, year after year, because of his commitment to hard work, his “good attitude,” and his long-term service to Wester Farms in North Carolina.
With revealing insight, filmmakers Cynthia Hill and Charles Thompson embark on an intimate exploration of Cande during one particularly grueling season while delving into this little-known guest worker program now already twenty years in existence.
The beauty of the film lies in the close attention paid to the voices of the people who together create a more human alternative to narratives widely found in U.S. debates about immigration, labor, and the guestworker program.”
Lisa Rathje, Journal of American Folklore
Edited by Michael Davey and Cynthia Hill
Photographed by Curtis Gaston and David Tyson
Original Score by Chuck Johnson