Domestic workers in the spotlight

Class differences and the wealth gap are most apparent when it comes to domestic workers. The influence of the good – and evil – souls on their immediate surroundings often reveals the human and the all-too-human. As clear as the established hierarchy seems to be at a first glance, as blurred is the true balance of power on site. Through a variety of forms and stories filmmakers from around the world show that the relationship between domestic workers and their homes is often a mirror for society itself.

New Order
Michel Franco
Mexico
86′
In Mexico City, a lavish upper-class wedding descends into chaos during an unexpected lower-class uprising that leads to a violent coup and the collapse of law and order.
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Workers
José Luis Valle
Mexico
122′
Rafael has been a cleaner in the same light bulb factory for thirty years. It is his last day before retirement, and he even buys himself a pair of new shoes for the occasion. But his boss soon takes the wind out of this reticent man’s sails. Although Rafael has been a diligent and reliable worker, as an illegal immigrant to Tijuana from El Salvador he has no right to expect a pension ... Lidia is one of seven people keeping house for a rich Mexican woman in a wheelchair who has dedicated her life to her whippet Princess’ who eats from a golden bowl and sleeps on a silk cushion. Lidia has spent thirty years taking care of the dog and its ailing mistress, day and night. When Lidia’s employee dies and leaves her fortune to her dog nothing much changes for Lidia at first. Then she begins to think about what it means to have a dog as an employer. José-Luis Valles’ film Workers paints an affecting picture of the division of labour in today’s ostensibly egalitarian society. His point of view is political, not polemical, and his camera takes its time to describe scenes not just through actions but above all in certain moods.
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