Stupid Girls

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Maid

You are reading
Share |

Trailer provided by Video Detective

At first, I thought this was a bad movie. Too much startle noise and music, to force a reaction. And the Chinese have an annoying tradition of and proclivity for crashing, screeching sound. It's the main reason I avoid Chinese opera, theater and festivals.

But I soon got over that, realizing the audio engineering was actually a very sophisticated sound poem, so I forgave it for being forced to pander to convention occasionally. For the most part, the audio in this is quite creative.

By the end of the film, I was in genuine tears. What children must endure at the hands of adults, what foreign workers must endure at the hands of employers . . . it is heart breaking.

This film is, whether accidentally or consciously, a feminist statement. It is profound and moving.

I very much appreciate the locations, interiors and authenticity of immersion in a cultural experience where ghosts are as much a part of everyday life as such other sneaky pests as scorpions.

When one looks past the ghost story, one sees it as metaphor: the girl's trauma and disorientation are visceral, alien, menacing and deeply touching.

"The Maid" is a sterling example of why I love the genre of Asian horror so much.

The Maid (2005)

Kelvin Tong

Kelvin Tong

Alessandra de Rossi, Huifang Hong and Benny Soh

Plot Summary for
The Maid (2005) More at IMDbPro »
"Every year, for thirty days during the lunar seventh month, the Chinese believe that the gates of hell are thrown open. Vengeful spirits or hungry ghosts wander among the living, seeking revenge and justice before the gates of hell are closed again for another year." The eighteen years old Rosa Dimaano arrives in Singapore from Philippines to give support to her family working as a maid in the house of the artists of a Chinese opera troupe Mr. and Mrs. Teo on the first day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. She is welcomed by the family and introduced to their friends and their retarded son Ah-Soon. Later, Mrs. Teo advises her about their beliefs and how the dead should be respected and honored along the seventh month. However, Rosa sweeps their offer on the sidewalk breaking a basic rule and offending the spirits, and she is haunted by ghosts everywhere. When Ah-Soon calls her Esther Santos and she finds some belongings of the unknown Esther in the house, she discloses a dark and scary secret about the past of her masters. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Alone for the first time and away from her family in rural Philippines, Rosa Dimaano arrives in the cosmopolitan city state of Singapore to work as a maid. Her employers Mr and Mrs Teo runs a Chinese Teochew dialect opera troupe takes well to their new domestic help. So do their mentally disabled son, Ah Soon. In Chinese superstition, the seventh month of the lunar calendar is regarded as the month when the gates of hell open for forsaken spirits to walk the earth for 30 days. Unknown to Rosa, she arrives on the eve and her hell is about to begin. Written by Janice Ian
During the Chinese Seventh Month, the gates of hell open and spirits are let loose upon an unsuspecting world. For 30 days, the dead walk among the living. To protect themselves, mortals devise rules. For Rosa Dimaano, all those are just a bunch of old wives' tales. Hailing from a small village in the Philippines, the 18-year-old arrives in Singapore on the first day of the Seventh Month to work as a domestic maid. She urgently needs money to save her sick brother back in the Philippines and ghosts are the last things on her mind. Happily for Rosa, life in Singapore cannot be rosier. Her employers, the elderly and gentle Mr and Mrs Teo, are a godsend, caring for her as if she was their own daughter. Their mentally-handicapped son Ah Soon also takes to Rosa immediately. Between cleaning house and helping the Teos with their work at the Chinese opera, Rosa is blissfully happy....until things start going wrong. Glimpsing strange apparitions at night, Rosa soon finds herself tumbling into the world of the dead. Unknown to the innocent girl, she had unwittingly broken many rules on the first few days of the Seventh Month. As the festivities reach a fever pitch in Singapore, Rosa's life turns into a nightmare. A mutilated boy haunts her. A faceless woman appears. Rosa feels as if she is losing her mind. Her employers urge her to bear with the sightings. But Rosa is uncertain. Someone somewhere seems to be trying to reach out to her. To keep her job, the poor girl has to stifle her screams and fear. To save her brother, she must survive the terrors of the Chinese Seventh Month. Written by Anonymous