After 23 years of service to the Valdes family, Raquel is comfortably ensconced in a vague existence between maid and her illusion that she is a family member. Her barely concealed bitterness and increased clashes with her employer’s eldest daughter lead the family to think she is overworked. They hire more help, and, feeling usurped, Raquel begins to sabotage each new employee by resorting to childish antics, clinging to her ambiguous place within the family.
In his remarkably astute second feature, Sebastián Silva questions, without bias, a dusty remnant of class division—the common, Latin American, aristocratic tradition of serfdom. Within this complex dynamic, we are privy to the inner workings of a well-intentioned family’s relationship with their servant—however endearingly the word is used. Silva wields his handheld camera like a magnifying glass, revealing Raquel’s fenced-in fragility, and watching her evolve is truly touching. Astonishing in its intimacy, the film wrings awkward humor from the alienated Raquel’s mind games. Only Lucy, last in the line of new maids, is able to nudge Raquel gently toward the momentous kick-start needed to rediscover herself.
Sebastián Silva’s hungry curiosity to examine the intersection of social and personal forces produces a painful, yet satisfying, comedic drama that shakes up and humanizes an insidious system. —Sundance Film Festival
Born in Santiago Chile in 1979, Sebastián Silva is a multifaceted artist whose body of work includes painting, illustration and popular music. After graduating from Catholic school in Santiago, Silva studied filmmaking at the Escuela de Cine de Chile for a year before leaving to study animation in Montreal. While eking out a living selling shoes, Silva mounted the first gallery exhibition of his illustrations and started his band CHC who have since gone on to record three albums. Silva’s second illustration show brought him in contact with Hollywood but a frustrating period in Los Angeles spent pitching to Steven Spielberg and others netted no tangible results. Fleeing Hollywood, Silva initiated two more musical projects, “Yaia” and “Los Mono”, both picked up for distribution by Sonic360 and released in the US and the UK, and exhibited his art work in New York while writing the script for what would become his first feature La vida me mata. Back in Chile, Silva recorded… read more
Instead of the clear social critique some may expect, Silva provides an intimate, surprising character portrait. The Maid reels you in, frustrates you, breaks your heart, and builds it back together at twice its original size. A lesson in compassion and empathy that reveals its subject with expertise. Destined to become a classic (cult or otherwise).
"Its critical thunder eclipsed at the time by the more lushly funded Planet of the Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey (both of which brokered