This surprise hit in Panama could score with Hispanic auds elsewhere.

There’s no dearth of films about maids who turn on their masters, from the bluntly titled “Murderous Maids” to Claude Chabrol’s “La Ceremonie,” but rarely is this particular form of class warfare staged as outright farce. Abner Benaim’s first fiction feature, “Chance,” concerning two disgruntled domestics who hold their employers hostage, proves the exception. Pic’s satirical strokes often play too broadly, but when one of the captors hauls off the lady of the house to help hawk heirlooms, the shifting femme-on-femme interaction raises the comic stakes exponentially. This surprise hit in Panama could score with Hispanic auds elsewhere.

The Gonzales-Dubois clan consists of tooth-flashing politico Fernando (Francisco Gattorno), a pair of spoiled-rotten teen twins (Maria-Alejandra and Maria-Cristina Palacios) and rich mommy Gloria (Isabella Santo Domingo), who raises clueless insensitivity to a high art. When the upper-crusters use their imminent shopping trip to Miami as yet another excuse for not shelling out long-overdue salaries to their maids Tona (Rosa Isabel Lorenzo) and Paquita (a priceless Aida Morales), the girls grab some weapons and demand payback, only to find that Fernando’s investments have left the family flat broke.

Chance

Panama-Mexico

Production

An Apertura Films (in Panama) release of an Apertura Films production in co-production with Rio Negro. (International sales: Shoreline Entertainment, Los Angeles.) Produced by Abner Benaim, Matthias Ehrenberg. Executive producer, Sanford Schwartz. Co-producer, Paula Jaramillo. Directed by Abner Benaim. Screenplay, Benaim, Papus von Saenger.

Crew

Camera (color), Mauricio Vidal; editor, Alberto de Toro; music, Pate de Fua; production designer, Maria Jose Pizarro; costume designer, Luz Helena Cardenas. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (Focus on World Cinema), Aug. 30, 2010. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Isabella Santo Domingo, Aida Morales, Rosa Isabel Lorenzo, Francisco Gattorno, Maria-Alejandra Palacios, Maria-Cristina Palacios, Juan David Valdez.

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