Maid In America
Last night I saw a wonderful documentary, “Maid In America” after proscratinating about it for weeks. Generally, I don’t like PBS films on Latina subjects because they are mostly depressing and circular in their vision. Although I know they are not all like that, nevertheless I have an instinctive aversion to them. Since I was small I have reacted against programs about us that display us as rueful. I don’t like any depictions that do not foreground the agency of the poor.
Anayansi Prado has made an exciting, touching film that lets the story live through empathy and attention to detail about the lives of three women who left their country and find themselves as domestic workers in Los Angeles. This is a story of life lived on hope and faith. Of amazing suffering and endurance that shakes up all of us comfortable career folk.
Please do see this story of 3 women. Eva will unsettle you as she cleans bathrooms with dignity you won’t believe. Judith is the incarnation of all that is fine and faithful and eternal about human daily living. Through enormous quiet anguish, she sustains life simply on the hope of a better future for her girls and boy. Telma effortlessly negotiates and crosses cultural and language boundaries, enriching those she touches.
Anayansi Prado demonstrates how good a director she is when she addresses the justice issues and victimization of domestic workers. Her instinct is absolutely perfect as she selects a dramatic device that leads us into the issues with interest and humor.
I think this is what I like most about this terrifically well crafted documentary. The protagonist, subject role of the women. As a filmmaker, Prado has to get very close to the women in order to reveal their personalities, their inner stirrings. She succeeds. She is an example of how Latinas are changing filmmaking and now I will be less reticent to view Latino subjects.
These are links about domestic workers, including ways to lend a helping hand to the agency of women domestic workers.
United Domestic Workers of America (UDWA)
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles