Critically acclaimed Latin American drama The Maid comes to DVD on 8th November….
Critically acclaimed Latin American drama The Maid comes to DVD on 8th November, featuring a tremendous performance from Catalina Saavedra in the titular lead role. But how does she compare to other on-screen hired help? We take a look at the varied depictions of household help in film.
Maria – The Sound of Music
Although bordering on nanny, rather than servant territory, Julie Andrews’ Maria is one of the best loved film characters of all time. Having struggled at becoming a nun, Maria lands a job as governess to Navy Captain Georg Von Trapp. Von Trapp’s seven children have managed to drive away all previous governesses but Maria’s fun approach to running the household soon win’s her a place in the hearts of the children, and Von Trapp. The hills soon come alive to the sound of music, rather than cries of mischievous children.
Alfred Pennyworth – Batman
Initially introduced in the Batman comic book as comedy relief to the grim vigilante in the 1940s, Bruce Wayne’s faithful butler has been a mainstay of nearly every film and television adaptation of the Caped Crusader. Yet it is Alfred’s latest incarnation, played by legendary Michael Caine, in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight that is arguably the greastest version, bringing both gravitas and humour to the character.
Mercedes – Pan’s Labyrinth
There are many things that are not what they appear to Guillermo del Toro’s stark, powerful Spanish Civil War set fantasy, not least the housekeeper Mercedes. When the young Ofelia first meets her, she seems to be nothing more than a good soul who helps shield Ofelia from her tyrannical stepfather General Vidal. But she is actually an undercover spy risking her life to bring down the General, showing just how well del Toro balances the fantasy and real life horrors he depicts.
Hugo Barret – The Servant
In this 1963 thriller, Dirk Bogarde plays Hugo Barret, servant to James Fox’s Aristocratic Tony. Upon moving to London, Tony finds the domestic help of dependable Hugo invaluable. Tony’s girlfriend Susan, however, does not trust the new servant. Before long this thriller develops into a tale of power, deceit and exploitation as Hugo attempts to gain authority over his employer and become the master himself.
The Turners – Atonement
In the 2007 film Atonement, James McAvoy stars alongside Keira Knightley as Robbie Turner, the son of the wealthy Tallis family’s servant. Having supported Robbie through a Cambridge education, the Tallis family’ solid relationship with their housekeeper’s family is thrown into disarray when 13 year old Briony Tallis accuses Robbie of a sexual assault after witnessing a sexual encounter between Robbie and elder sister Cecilia (Knightley). Robbie is sent to prison and then made to serve in the army in a film that went on to win an Oscar for Best Original Score and a British Academy Film Award for Best Film Of The Year.
Marisa Ventura – Maid in Manhattan
Jennifer Lopez stars as a single mother struggling to make ends meet as a maid in a fancy New York hotel, wishing suave political candidate Ralph Fiennes would sweep her off her feet. And of course he does, after much commotion, because, let’s face it, she’s Jennifer Lopez. Ghost-written by the late John Hughes, it’s the fluffiest piece of fluff you could imagine, but no less entertaining for it.
Chiyo – Memoirs of Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha follows the journey of Chiyo from young neglected servant to a beautiful and renowned Geisha. This visually stunning film won 3 Oscars and many other awards from around the world as director Rob Marshall brilliantly illustrated the social environment that Geisha’s existed within prior to World War II.
Raquel – The Maid
The Maid is an award winning drama starring Catalina Saavedra (The Dancer & The Thief) as Raquel, a maid who has come to regard herself as part of the family after 23 years of dutiful service. When Raquel begins to clash with the family’s eldest daughter, her employers become convinced that she is overworked and seek extra help around the house. Feeling usurped in her new role, Raquel begins to sabotage each new employee to once again reinforce her position within the family. This superbly dark but touching film perfectly illustrates the complexities of the employer – servant relationship.
The Maid is released on DVD on November 8th 2010