A live-in maid leaves the pretentious employer who can no longer pay her.

A live-in maid leaves the pretentious employer who can no longer pay her in Jorge Gaggero’s well-written first feature, “Live-In Maid.” Taking a different approach to describe the effects of Argentina’s down-sliding economy, pic’s a fairly successful attempt at satire, though given the subject, there’s a lot of darkness under the carpet. The narration leaves little room for surprise, however. Three years after its San Sebastian preem, pic kicks off a two-week run today at Gotham’s Film Forum.

Beba (Norma Aleandro), an alcoholic divorcee, once filled her days with gossipy card parties, but now she is forced to sell her jewelry and peddle cosmetics door to door, all the while promising to pay Dora (Norma Argentina) her back wages. With a heavy heart, Dora bows out after 30 years of service. Beba’s droll machinations to save face and hold onto Dora comically depict the panic of the Argentine middle class. Pic’s real treat is non-pro actress Argentina’s beautiful portrait of Dora, who stoically bears years of humiliation from Beba but is unable to rejoice once the tables are turned.

Live-In Maid

Spain-Argentina

Production

A Film Sales Co. release (in U.S.) of a Filmanova Invest (Spain)/Aquafilms, Libidofilms (Argentina) production. (International sales: Filmanova Invest, Madrid.) Produced by Anton Reixa, Diego Mas Trellis, Veronica Cura. Directed, written by Jorge Gaggero.

Crew

Camera (color), Javier Julia; editor, Guillermo Represa; production designer, Marcela Bazzano. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Zabaltegi), Sept. 20, 2004. (Also in Sundance Film Festival -- competing; New Directors/New Films.) Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Norma Aleandro, Norma Argentina, Marcos Mundstock, Raul Panguinao, Susan Aanteri, Claudia Lapaco, Eduardo Rodriguez, Monica Gonzaga, Elsa Berenguer.
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