Wednesday, August 25, 2010

La Nana (The Maid)

Not an easy movie for me to review, so I cheated and read a lot of critics and users reviews to get some inspiration. Unfortunately all reviews or viewers comments refer to the story, including those from 'professional' critics, so I have no choice but to share with you all my personal experience with this movie that was not what I expected, a comedy, but a drama that could touch many in so many different ways. Yes, definitively has a powerful story that if you identify with it or not, you will absolutely get absorbed by it.

Why is not easy for me to write about this movie? See, I had a live-in maid when I was growing up and she was part of the family. When I grew up and became independent, never had a live-in maid -came and go everyday- but still became part of my family. The point, I have always had a maid, no matter where I lived and always developed a very close relationship with them. So, the story touched me in several levels regarding this point, one is related to my own experience with maids as being part of my family; another is how maids take control of your domestic life, another how your privacy is invaded by maids, last how maids have an awful position within your family as they really don't belong to your family (period). All the above is a subject matter no one discuss or talk about no matter which country you live in.

But this sad tale with a few tragicomic moments also touched me on a human level on how we human beings could lose perspective of our own lives and end up living lives with other human beings that care for you when is convenient for them and how you become an 'object' they get used to see every day and can't or aren't willing to get rid of it. It's up to each individual to face true reality -against imaginary reality- and get out of a situation, or accept it as such to live a happier life.

Very complex and layered story in a movie with outstanding performances by most of the supporting cast, but the lead Catalina Saavedra performance is truly amazing from any point of view that you analyze it, with special mention to how she transforms right in front of your eyes. Great performance. The movie as a movie has its flaws, but you won't be able to easily see them as the story will grab your attention quite fast and will hold it until the very end. This is the incredible good work of a filmmaker, Sebastián Silva, than in his second film shows great timing mastery, so good that kept the story flowing flawlessly.

The story is very simple, a live-in maid discovers her reality and is allowed to live her own life for the first time in twenty years, since she came to the home of a wealthy Chilean family when she was very young. Obviously for her to finally be able to do it many, but many, things will happen that will portrait her as a villain, a manipulative woman, a caged woman, a very tired woman, an innocent/naive woman, (etc.) up to a more assertive woman that accepts and starts to enjoy her 'real' life.

Did I like the movie? Today I do, but when I saw it I was feeling so 'not good' that I almost regretted having watch it. The story was too close and personal, absolutely identified with it and touched so many 'forbidden to talk' issues that became unbearable. Not many stories in film make me feel so many 'not positive' emotions and took me a long while to realize that I liked the movie (a lot) as this incredibly good performed and directed story broke some of my own taboos.

Will this happen to you? Probably not, but IF you have had live-in maids while growing up or today, then maybe. Still, I strongly suggest you don't miss it as is an awfully good story in a good film that some critics dared to claim has reminiscences of Hitchcock or Godard and yes I do agree with them. The film became a huge success in the festival and awards worldwide circuit and got 24 wins, plus 7 nominations, including a nomination at the 2010 Golden Globes in the Best Foreign Language Film and winning the Grand Jury Prize at 2009 Sundance fest plus Special Jury Prize to Catalina Saavedra.

Again, I suggest you don't miss this amazing film.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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