After 23 years of dutiful service to the Valdes family, Raquel (Catalina Saavedra) has come to regard herself as not only a maid but a family member. But her employers start to worry about her workload, after Raquel repeatedly clashes with their teenage daughter, and they hire additional help. Frantic that her position is under threat, Raquel utilises ever more childish antics to sabotage each new employee. Brilliantly observed and featuring an award-winning performance from Catalina Saavedra, Sebastian Silva's acclaimed black comedy recalls the satirical genius of Luis Bunuel.
An interesting low-budget movie from Chile taking a deep look into the life of a housemaid in a modern bourgeois family set up. Catalina Saavedra plays the maid so convincingly that I felt slightly distraught at first watching the misery of her daily routine. But the maid, Raquel, seems to get some satisfaction from the relationship she has with the family, albeit rather vicariously. They arrange a birthday party for her in a patronising way, but, privately, Raquel's health, both physical and mental, is suffering. After additional domestic help is brought in to assist Raquel, she starts to act 'strange' and here the movie builds a 'Hitchcock' tension as to what she is going to end up doing next. Domestic servants are very much a feature in Spanish tradition drama, for example the works of Lorca and Bunuel and I can see Raquel as part of this genre which looks at the position of 'servants' who are significant, within a family but not quite part of it (reflecting class divisions in society). The movie gets off to a slowish start, but Saavedra's remarkable acting makes this a good movie.