A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
The story of how a maid called Raquel, who has worked for over 20 years in one affluent Chilean household, rediscovers herself. La Nana is a microcosm of Latin social hierarchy while also focusing on one woman's journey to free herself from a mental servitude of her own making Written by
Elephant Eye Films
Welcome to Raquel's world. She is a maid for an upper middle class family in Santiago, Chile, that has been with them for twenty years of joyless existence. Raquel is a loner showing signs of fatigue as her work never stops. She is up and running the household for Pilar, who certainly appreciates her work, as witnessed at the beginning of the story when she gathers her clan to celebrate Raquel's birthday. Raquel gets along well with all the family members with the exception of the older daughter, who can't explain the animosity she gets from the maid. Part of the problem appears to be the way Raquel perceives the girl to be pretty and full of life, while hers is going away fast. Other than being with this family, she has no life of her own.
Pilar decides to hire someone else to help Raquel with her demanding job. She is still going to be in charge, but that way, Pilar figures, it will give the maid some badly needed rest. Unfortunately, Raquel clashes with two of the prospective would-be-helpers, a young Peruvian girl, and an older woman, who tells Raquel not to love these people too much because they really don't appreciate what she does for the family. In both cases, Raquel ends up locking them out of the house and they get fed up. When Lucy, the third assistant, is hired, she proves to be a perfect foil to Raquel's objections. Lucy is a no-nonsense woman who really sees Raquel for what she; Lucy realizes that under the tough exterior, there is a good person waiting to emerge with the right kind of approach. Soon they end up striking a good working relationship and even traveling for the Christmas holidays to Lucy's parents home in the country.
Sebastian Silva, co-wrote and directed this Chilean film that has proved to be a favorite in the festivals where it has been shown. The film works because Mr. Silva knows well the intricacies of life with a housekeeper, something that in other countries is a rarity. The director had worked with some of the actors in the cast in his first film "La vida me mata". He shoots the film using a lot of close ups that shows plainly the emotions going on with the characters he presents us.
The best thing in the film is Catalina Saavedra, who as Raquel runs away with the picture. She is charismatic and even her mean spirited attitude toward the others can be explained in the way she measures herself against the rest of the family. Claudia Celedon has some good moments as Pilar, the lady of the house. Mariana Oyola is also effective as Lucy, the only one that really understood what the trouble was with Raquel.
An enjoyable film thanks to Mr. Silva and Ms. Saavedra.
34 of 40 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?