Picks of the Week is Women and Hollywood‘s newest resource. W&H writers are often asked for recommendations, so each week they’ll spotlight the women-driven and women-made projects—movies, series, VOD releases and more—that they’re most excited about. (Sign up for the Women and Hollywood newsletter at womenandhollywood.com to get each week’s picks delivered to your inbox!)
Documentary of the Week: Maiden
The story in Maiden begins and ends with Tracy Edwards. What a woman.
Edwards was a lost soul who found her way to the seas by becoming a cook on a ship competing in the fourth Whitbread round-the-world yacht race in 1985. She was seriously hooked—so much so that she was determined to launch her own boat for the next race in 1989.
This woman came from no money and had barely any connections, yet she was determined to make this happen. On top of that, no woman had ever skippered a boat in this race—but Edwards did it.
Just getting the team together and preparing the boat is enough of a story to win her the Amazing Woman of the Century Award—she got money from Jordan’s King Hussein. But watching those women competing against men who believed they did not belong there was easily one of the most inspirational things I have ever seen on-screen.
Maiden had me blubbering throughout its whole runtime. Do not miss it. (Melissa Silverstein)
Maiden opens in select cities June 28. Find screening info here.
Feature of the Week: The Chambermaid
Directed by Lila Avilés; Written by Lila Avilés and Juan Carlos Marquéz
Set in a luxurious hotel in Mexico City, Lila Avilés’ The Chambermaid is an absorbing portrait of Eve (Gabriela Cartol), a hardworking maid determined to change her circumstances. The young single mother enrolls in the hotel’s adult education program, seeks a promotion as a cleaner on the hotel’s executive floor and is famously professional among her co-workers, refusing to be distracted from her responsibilities at work. But The Chambermaid is not a feel-good, tone-deaf story about how dedication pays off.
Eve’s efforts are rarely rewarded. The hotel guests treat her as if she’s invisible, or like her existence is an inconvenience. She rarely gets to see her son. She showers at work because she doesn’t have hot water at home.
Rarely do we get the opportunity to see a story centered around a woman like Eve. The Chambermaid is a refreshing tribute to a character who is usually relegated to the sidelines—if she’s depicted at all.
Avilés spent years following maids in their daily lives, and those experiences and the insights she gleaned from them show. The Chambermaid feels like a documentary at times, the monotony of Eve’s days playing out as if they are happening in real time.
The Chambermaid’s successful festival run kicked off at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival; the drama has picked up honors at Marrakech International Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival and Portland International Film Festival, among others. (Laura Berger)
Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Lila Avilés.
The Chambermaid opens in NY June 26. It will roll out to additional cities in the coming weeks. Find screening info here.