Film

Film

by

A sober, touchy-feely video documentary chronicling the issue of undocumented workers as seen from the p.o.v. of suburban homeowners, Farmingville earnestly traces the unrest and legislative trajectory of the titular Long Island community as it spends several years dealing with a sudden influx of Mexican day laborers, who at one point comprised a full 10 percent of the small town’s population. No short-term resolution is in sight: By definition of their burgeoning existence, the workers serve a real economic need, and yet property-value-minded middle-classers do not want them massing on their street corners and crowding up nearby rental homes. The scope and intensity of the conflict—including assaults, attempted murders, drive-bys, and arson, most of it simply alluded to here—can be surprising even to natives, but Sandoval and Tambini’s timid document attends mostly to a handful of loudmouths and moments of local legislation. Authentic ethical dialogue is conspicuous for its absence, as is the potentially disturbing view of a normal, working-class corner of American society going not-so-quietly cuckoo.