Today, there is marked socio-economic inequality in countries all around the world, but it some it’s more distinct than others. Take Mexico, for example. Over half the country lives beneath the poverty line yet four billionaires share almost 10% of the country’s GDP between them. There’s no industry where this polarity exhibits itself more abruptly than in hospitality. This is the setting for Lila Avilés’ new film The Chambermaid.
Eve (Gabriela Cartol) works as a chambermaid in a busy hotel. A conscientious worker, she is determined to show her worth and get promoted to cleaning the luxury suites on the 42nd floor. One of the perks of the job is being able to use the staff facilities as she has no hot water at home. Eve is popular with her colleagues and managers, attending night classes is her resolution to gain promotion and improve her chances of providing a better life for her son.
The Chambermaid is a fascinating and understated drama about one woman’s resolve to improve her lot in life. Gabriela Cartol is phenomenal as the taciturn and tenacious Eve. She’s a quiet force of nature, and what makes her performance feel so real and powerful is the fact that Avilés ensures the script never strays close to melodrama. Eve comes into contact with wealth through the hotel residents. She’s almost invisible unless they need something. The Chambermaid is a subtle commentary on modern Mexico wrapped inside a top-notch character study.
The Chambermaid screens at London Film Festival on 18 & 21 October.