FestivalsFilmReview

The Quiet Maid – Raindance Film Festival 2024

Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Writer and Director: Miguel Faus

All filmed in lush greens and vibrant pinks, Miguel Faus’s film about a Colombian maid working for a rich Spanish family is a diverting 90 minutes, but the story is a little predictable. In its depiction of the vast gulfs between the rich and the poor, The Quiet Maid has flashes of The Parasite about it, but none of Bong Joon-ho’s eerie flair.

Paula Grimaldo gives a tremendous performance as the maid, Ana, brought by her wealthy employers to their holiday house on the Costa Brava for the summer. Here she must work every day for the month of August, and if she does a satisfactory job, her employers promise to sign her papers so that she can become a Spanish resident.

Sending most of her wages home to a sister in med school, Ana works hard, and her numerous tasks around the luxury bungalow are beautifully filmed. There she is cleaning huge windows from the outside, a pink inflatable flamingo bobbing about in the pool behind her and here she is squeezing oranges at the kitchen island. Always dressed in her pink gingham uniform, Ana is efficient and tireless.

Until she meets another Columbian maid Gisela (a wonderfully natural Nany Tovar), Ana’s only company is a stray cat that she feeds in secret. Otherwise, her only face-to-face conversations in the house are with her condescending employers, Pedro and Andrea, who treat her merely as a servant. Their daughter Claudia (Violeta Rodríguez) shows a smidgeon of compassion when she’s not busy taking selfies while the son Jacobo (Pol Hermoso) becomes an increasingly predatory figure, especially when he’s partying with his friends.

Servants of old were often discreet, floating around houses with the use of secret passageways, kitchen stairs and mysterious doors, but Ana is a tangible figure, always present within the family dynamics. She is constantly seen. But despite her solid presence, intensified by her uniform, which she is even required to wear when she spends a morning on a boat with the family, she is still able to gather information to secure her future.

Although the film always looks stunning, and the house is full of art, The Quiet Maid heads on a familiar journey. Fortunately, Grimaldo is a compelling lead, featuring in almost every shot and she manages to show the two sides of her character convincingly; the dutiful maid, hair tied back, and the young woman with desires of her own hidden underneath the servant garb. But as a film that tackles wealth disparity, The Quiet Maid is a tad too gentle.

The Quiet Maid is screening at the Raindance Film Festivalruns from 19 – 28 June in London cinemas.

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