English film Movies The maid

The maid

After a long long time, I went to the movies on Tuesday. It was totally out of the blue, my friend S called in the middle of the afternoon, and after hesitating for an hour (I’m becoming a home bug), I decided to go. It was good to see some friends and meet some new people. It was a pretty cold, snowy/rainy night, your typical Chicago winter weather… We went to the Music Box Theater. I had never been there before, but I would highly recommend it. It is a beautiful, old fashion place in Southport. Their usual fare is independent/foreign, with a The Sound of Music sing-along here and there. We watched The maid, a Chilean movie that got good reviews at Sundance. It tells us about Raquel, the maid/nanny who has worked with a family for 23 years, and the different relationships the family members and her have developed through the years. Although she acts as if they are her family, they are not. That’s one of the biggest achievements of the movie, the fact that it is perfectly able to convey to us that thick glass of separation, in which the family treats her well but always drawing a line, always intending a “but…”. Catalina Saavedra’s performance is remarkable. Without so much of a dialogue, she is able to perfectly depict Raquel’s feelings, specially that glimpse of craziness/stubbornness we can see when they hire other women to help her, so exaggerated that it becomes humorous. But we can also see her insistence on locking the other maids out as a metaphor of her way of keeping them off her territory. She wants to keep being “their” maid, and that means no one else should be able to claim her place inside the house, linked to that family, to which she has devoted her freedom. Only when someone who values her freedom more than this form of 21st century endowment, does Raquel open her heart.
It is definitely a character movie full of open questions. Why does she hate Camila, the oldest daughter? Does she finally sleep with Lucy’s uncle? Where is she running at the end? And more than anything, why does she devote her life to this family who will never appreciate her efforts? It is also a cruel depiction of the Chilean upper middle class, la burguesía. In a way it reminds of Luciana Martel’s films, it’s like a Christian clean version of La ciénaga. In any case, it’s worth seeing.
I always forget that there was a time when I went to the movies at least twice a week, when I bought and read film magazines, and when I knew what directors were going to be up to for the next two years. That was long gone. I don’t have the time or money to do all that. But I will try to get back in shape. Maybe this blog will eventually evolve into a cultural one… Don’t even get me started in books.

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