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Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0

Kyle Reid & the Low Swinging Chariots - “When I Was Young”

Every artist should be the star of their own creative life, which makes Kyle Reid’s steps out of the shadows of the many ensembles and supporting roles he has played in Oklahoma bands over the years to front and center on stage feel like a just journey.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
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A simple 'Maid' is a complex character in a Chilean film that's won international acclaim


Kathryn Jenson White March 18th, 2010

In two of the many fine 2009 films that didn't earn Academy Award attention this year, a pair of women give two performances that make Sandra Bullock's serviceable, Southern-fried turn as Leigh Anne T...

maid
In two of the many fine 2009 films that didn't earn Academy Award attention this year, a pair of women give two performances that make Sandra Bullock's serviceable, Southern-fried turn as Leigh Anne Tuohy in "The Blind Side" look damn puny. The pretty pat film surrounding that Oscar-winning performance has, so far, earned $252,692,000 in the United States.

The first of the ignored complex performances is in Martin Provost's "Séraphine," featuring French actor Yolande Moreau as the early-20th-century artist Séraphine Louis. Moreau is astonishing as she reveals the slipping into madness of this compelling visual artist. Moreau has won six performance awards, including a Cesar " the French version of the Oscar. U.S. box office to date: $882,506.

The second, the performance of Catalina Saavedra in Chilean writer/director Sebastián Silva's "The Maid," is the focus of this review. Saavedra has won 10 international awards. U.S. earnings are $553,909.

Sigh.

"The Maid," which screens Friday and Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, is the story of a housemaid in the home of a wealthy Chilean family, giving us a Latin-American take on the world of upstairs/downstairs. While Raquel (Saavedra) has served the family for 23 years, she isn't really part of it. If there's one thing this film makes clear, it's that as much as the employer wants the employee to think she or he is a family member, it cannot ever really be so.

What makes Saavedra's performance not only emotionally gripping, but also technically impressive is Raquel's progression as a character. As she takes petty revenge against the teenage daughter of the house and engages in full-fledged battles with a series of second maids the family hires to ease her workload, we recoil. She is clearly the protagonist, but Raquel is not a nice woman. She defines herself as the world defines her: by her role as maid. It's all she's got, and she's ready to defend her pitifully small turf by any means necessary.

As the plot presents unexpected twists, we sigh with relief as we can explain and, therefore, forgive Raquel's awful behavior. To relax is a mistake, however, as the clearing of the ominous clouds for a few rays of sunshine isn't yet the whole story.

Each time we think we have figured out who Raquel is and what motivates her, we find we're only kind of right. She is a complex woman with a full range of all-too-human causes of behavior: illness, loneliness, jealousy, fear, love, desire. The mistake " which this film clearly points out " is to assume that a simple maid is a simple person.

You'll laugh at the often dark humor, shake your head in disgust, ache with pity and empathize with the full range of emotions Saavedra uses to paint this fascinating and, ultimately, sympathetic, even admirable, character. Again to compare: From frame one, Bullock's Tuohy is all she will be.

A third female performance this year " Meryl Streep's as Julia Child in "Julie & Julia" " was undeniably great. Saavedra's is greater. Julia seems real; Raquel is so real she seems the focus of a documentary, rather than a character in a fiction film. "Kathryn Jenson White
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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