New York-based distribution company Kino Lorber has announced the U.S. theatrical release of The Chambermaid / La camarista, the auspicious and engaging film debut by Mexican director-actress-dramatist Lila Avilés, recently named one of Variety’s “10 Latinxs to Watch 2019.”
Winner of the Golden Gate Award for Best Film at the San Francisco Film Festival, the Best Film Award at the Morelia Film Festival, the Jury Prize at the Marrakech Film Festival, and a favorite at numerous film festivals including Toronto, San Sebastian, AFI Fest and New Directors/New Films, The Chambermaid opens Wednesday, June 26 at Film Forum in New York City and Friday, July 5 at Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles and the Roxie Theater in San Francisco, followed by a national rollout.
A poignant and delicate class portrait, Avilés’ film follows Eve — played by the wonderful Gabriela Cartol (I Dream in Another Language) — a young chambermaid working in one of the most luxurious hotels in Mexico City, an exclusive glass tower inhabited by wealthy guests whose lives she imagines by their belongings left behind and their absences. Long, laborious shifts prevent Eve from caring for her child as she helps guests with their own children, but she believes she can better her situation after she’s promoted to work at executive-level suites, for which she accepts a grueling schedule. In keeping with her desire to improve her lot, she simultaneously enrolls in the hotel’s adult education program.
An incipient friendship with her coworker and an awkward, silent flirtation with a window-washer prod her toward much needed bravery. When things don’t turn out as planned, Eve transforms her solitary explorations and newfound courage into the strength to face a life outside the high-class prison that’s entrapped her, breaking rules and discovering herself.
Inspired by Avilés’ theater play of the same name — in turn inspired by Sophie Calle’s 1980 artistic project “The Hotel,” in which the French artist worked as a chambermaid in a Venice hotel—The Chambermaid is a standout among a thriving new generation of Mexican and Latin American female filmmakers. With impeccable cinematography, a near-documentary eye, and a humanistic gaze, the film signals Avilés as a talent to watch.