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MoMA’s Doc Fortnight 2014 Preview: Gabriel Mascaro’s Doc ‘Doméstica’ – ‘The Help’ Unscripted

MoMA's Doc Fortnight 2014 Preview: Gabriel Mascaro's Doc 'Doméstica' - 'The Help' Unscripted

For those in NYC (including myself) here’s your opportunity to see this feature doc, which will screen as part of MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight 2014MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media, which runs from February 14–28, 2014.

More about the program:

Since 2001, February has marked the return of Documentary Fortnight, MoMA’s annual showcase of innovative recent nonfiction film and media. This year’s festival includes 20 feature films, 10 shorts, two classics, and one installation, from more than 20 countries, in an examination of the relationship between contemporary art and nonfiction filmmaking, and of new approaches to nonfiction practice. Several video works will be screened in theatrical versions, and one video installation from the Museum’s collection will be on display in the galleries. The features, shorts, and installations in this year’s festival show filmmakers and artists responding to contemporary concerns by capturing and analyzing events on a global stage, or by pulling from their own countries, communities, and backgrounds to tell documentary stories with intimacy, depth, and formal innovation. As a whole, the works in this year’s program seek to move beyond the search for “empirical truth,” and delve into the inner realities of their subjects, focusing on states of being, memories, dreams, ideas, desires, and utopias lost and found.

It’s not quite The Help (I only use that because it seems to have become the standard by which all films about maids are now compared).

Here, the filmmaker’s approach intrigues me, and I’d like to see what the end result looks, sounds and feels like.

It’s titled Doméstica (or Housemaids), a seemingly provocative feature-length documentary by Brazilian director Gabriel Mascaro.

It’s a project we’ve been tracking since first writing about it almost 2 years ago.

Mascaro’s approach involved giving video cameras to 7 adolescents from six Brazilian locales, and asked them to film their family’s maids for a week, all day, everyday, for 7 straight days.

So it’s kind of what you’d call an observational documentary, capturing the diversity of employee attitudes towards their maids, the relationship between each maid and the house they are hired to work in, how each reacts to the fact that there’s a camera following them around, and more.

Given how intimate it seems, it could be compelling viewing. I haven’t seen it, so I can’t say. But I’m intrigued by the method chosen, and will check it out at MoMA when it screens this month.

Of course, one could argue that, while there might be some genuinely poignant moments, how much of what we see is indeed sincere, and not just the maids acting or saying what they think their bosses will want to hear. In essence, how truthful can they be, when their employers’ kids are the filmmakers behind the cameras recording their every move?

Regardless, I’m still curious.

Watch the full trailer below for Housemaids:

TRAILER – Housemaids by Gabriel Mascaro from Desvia on Vimeo.

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