Reviewed by: Trinity

This is a bittersweet look at the lives of maids and the problems they face. It's based on a successful Brazilian play and follows five characters: Roxane, Zefa, Quiteria, Cida and Raimunda.

Each is different, and each has their own story to tell, but all are brought together by the drudgery of their work and the bus they ride. They are introduced via monologues in black-and-white, which give an emotional insight into their personalities, as well as explaining how they got to where they are.

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Roxane is feisty and wants to become a model, Zefa is the mother of the group and just wants to lead a normal life, Quiteria is clumsy and naive, Cida wishes her relationship with her husband could be spiced up and Raimunda wants to meet a boyfriend who cares.

Each character is linked by more than just work, as hold-ups, corpses, missing children, affairs and other events conspire to alter their lives.

The acting is superb, breathing life and vitality into the script, which still betrays its theatrical origins. Nevertheless, Meirelles does a good job of transferring it to the screen and manages to create a slice of life that is both amusing and moving.

If the film seems slight and without a definite conclusion, it doesn't detract from the warmth of the characters. Worth a watch if you tend to find yourself gossiping at the coffee machine, rather than at your desk.

Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2001
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A look at the lives of five maids in Sao Paulo.
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Director: Fernando Meirelles, Nando Olival

Writer: Cecelia Homem de Mello, Fernando Meirelles.

Starring: Claudia Missura, Graziella Moretto, Lena Roque, Olivia Araujo, Renata Melo, Robson Nunes, Tiago Moraes.

Year: 2001

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Brazil,


EIFF 2001

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