Film - Feature | April 21 | 3:15 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Twenty-four-year-old Evelia cleans rooms at an upscale Mexico City hotel while taking advantage of its adult education program in her off hours. Though introverted and task-focused, she is drawn into the lives of several guests and coworkers, trading duties with Minitoy, an outgoing and ribald woman, and shyly flirting through the glass with a handsome window washer. Set entirely within the hotel, its rooms (both before and after Evelias handiwork) and back corridors, The Chambermaid perfectly and poignantly details its protagonists life and work with deft cinematography and a script that makes every word count.
Avilés allows her picture to develop gradually, as we get a sense of the side commerce and systems in place that keep the hotel running, from Tupperware and hand cream sales to the promise held by a forgotten red dress that Eve hopes will soon be relinquished to her by lost property. Cartols measured performance, meanwhile, contrasts beautifully with the much more flamboyant display by Teresa Sánchez as Eves joking fellow maid Minitoy. This is a quiet movie, which never loses its focus on its central character study, while allowing points about economic and social inequalities to sound out loud and clear.Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film