Ciambra
12 December 2017

MISTRESS AND MAID

original title:

SERVA E PADRONA

directed by:

cinematography:

country:

Italy

year:

2004

film run:

85'

format:

colour

festival & awards:

An improvised feature that glides between documentary (in terms of style) and theatre (in terms of the unity of place and action). Four actresses and a Roman house on the Tiber turn out to be enough to film the play The Maids (Les bonnes) by Jean Genet. A free interpretation, because the protagonists each go their own way and speak their own language. At nightfall, three women (who do not hide the fact they are actresses) meet up in a small kitchen. They talk a little. They do some things. There are not in a hurry. Life itself seems trapped here. Throughout the film (and throughout the night) the small group moves from the kitchen to the mirrors in the bathroom, to the bare living room and eventually outside, to the beautiful view over the Eternal City. Two actresses are 'maids', one is 'lady'. A boss who wants to be loved and wants to express her power with subtlety. And two maidservants who sound out the boundaries of power. First with their first boss and later in the play with another. Role-play like a fencing match. The film maker dedicates the film to his actresses and, after seeing the film, it's not difficult to understand why: it is their play, their presence and their body that is given space and hence bears the film