For those in NYC, here’s your opportunity to see this engaging feature documentary (previously highlighted on this blog a couple of years ago), which will screen as part of the cinematic companion to BAM’s 38th annual DanceAfrica event, which includes a lineup of some of the best in contemporary filmmaking from across the African diaspora. This year’s program features a special focus on Brazil. The program in presented in association with the New York African Film Festival, and kicks off today, May 22, to May 25, 2015.
It’s not quite "The Help" (I only use that, reductively, because it seems to have become the standard by which all films about domestic aid are now compared, for better and worse).
Here, the filmmaker’s approach intrigues, which I’m sure you’ll agree. In brief, it involved giving video cameras to 7 adolescents from six Brazilian locales, asking them to film their family’s maids for a week, all day, everyday, for 7 straight days.
It’s titled "Doméstica" (or "Housemaids"), a provocative feature-length documentary by Brazilian director Gabriel Mascaro.
So it’s kind of what you’d call an observational documentary, capturing the diversity of employee attitudes towards their maids, the relationship between each maid and the house they are hired to work in, how each reacts to the fact that there’s a camera following them around, and more.
Of course, one could argue that, while there might be some genuinely poignant moments, how much of what we see is indeed sincere, and not just the maids acting or saying what they think their bosses will want to hear. In essence, how truthful can they be, when their employers’ kids are the filmmakers behind the cameras?
It’s certainly intimate and compelling viewing. And if you’re even a little curious, and you live in NYC, you should check it out, when it screens tomorrow, Saturday, twice – at 4:30pm and 9pm, at Bam Rose Cinemas in Brooklyn. Ticket information here: http://www.bam.org/film/2015/housemaids.