MVFF: La Nana/The Maid (B+)

A Chilean/Mexican feature, La Nana (The Maid) is one that’s still growing on me, a few hours after the screening.

Raquel has been the live-in do-everything maid for an upper-class Chilean family for 23 years. For that matter, it’s really the only family or relationships she’s ever had, and that’s why things have gotten a bit weird around the house.

La Nana keeps us on the uncomfortable edge of not knowing if we’re supposed to be afraid of Raquel or for her. It’s hard to tell if she’s a good guy, bad guy or both. It’s not even clear whether we’ll ever really understand what makes her tick, but we want to and the plot and character keep moving, so we don’t give up.

If that sounds unpleasant, it’s actually an engrossing comedy with undertones that occasionally border on even the horror-film genre. (How’s that for a confusing description?) Writer/director Sebastian Silva weaves his way through the personality of this very complex character played brilliantly by Catalina Saavedra. And you’ll love Sonia, a cameo role played by Anita Reeves. The film deservedly won a Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Saavedra won a Special Jury Prize for her performance.Don’t go too far out of your way to find La Nana, but if it’s showing nearby by all means see it.

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