It is estimated that there are currently over sixty-five million domestic workers around the world. Mostly women, they are normally from poorer backgrounds and are afforded some of the weakest legal protections within the countries they live. Expected to work long hours and dedicate their lives to the families they work for. While they are often integrated into households, that doesn’t mean they’re anything other than ‘slave labour’. Carijita tells a particularly chilling tale.
Yarisa (Magnolia Núñez) has spent most of her working life serving a wealthy family and has become integral to their lives. Especially for the teenage Sara (Cecile van Welie) who treats her like a surrogate mother. This has come at the cost of the relationship with her own daughter, Mallory (Adelanny Padilla). The pair are almost estranged, but when her employers move back to her hometown she sees it as a second chance. However, when tragedy strikes Yari must face up to the truth.
Carajita is a tense and moving drama which focuses on the tensions within a family unit and the impact a catalyst can have. On the surface, the family unit is strong, but cracks soon appear and the disparity between employer and employee is stark. This is the main theme of Ulises Porra and Silvina Schnicer’s film. It’s nicely shot and acted, and while the subject itself has been covered before, the ending is a terrifying reminder of polarisation within societies.
Carajita screens at Glasgow Film Festival.