The Maid

This 2009 SIFF selection has been honored with both the Critics' Award at the Cartagena Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. I found "La Nana" unpredictable and convincing.

The story centers around a maid who has been with a family for 23 years. Even though she is treated fairly and with a great deal of consideration (the family throws a birthday party for her, plus they pay her medical bills when she falls ill), she seems to feel threatened. Her tasks are many and never-ending: She cooks, cleans, does laundry and tends the children from sunup to sundown. The mother of the family feels that the maid needs some help, as the house is big and there are four or five children, but our heroine is determined to undermine any poor gal who is hired to assist her. This is HER family and HER house!

Catalina Saavedra is an unknown actress to American audiences, so we totally buy into her stoic and unbending persona. In fact, by the time she finally smiles, it is such a shock that it has a major impact! The camera pries into her thoughts, feelings and strategies, but Saavedra is up to the task. She is a wonderful actress: you can SEE her think.

Post Script: The 2009 SIFF evaluators were as impressed as I!