Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  76 minutes
Date:  2013
Genre:  Expository
Language:  Portuguese / English subtitles
Grade level: 9-12, COLLEGE, ADULT
Color/BW:  Color
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Seven Brazilian teenagers film their housemaids, exposing issues of class, race, and gender in their families, and in their country.


Housemaids are an integral part of the household in Brazil, and participate in the day-to-day life of the family. The employment of housemaids is almost obligatory among the middle and upper classes of the country. The vast majority of these housemaids are black women, who face high levels of inequality based on their gender, race and social class. Their role in the household raises important questions about public and private space, endurance and choice, and labor and family life.

For HOUSEMAIDS, director Gabriel Mascaro asked seven adolescents to film their family's housemaids for one week, and hand the footage over to him. Their images uncover the complex relationship that exists between housemaids and their employers, a relationship that confuses intimacy and power in the workplace and provides us with an insight into the echoes of a colonial past that linger in contemporary Brazil.

HOUSEMAIDS exposes and explores a hidden daily reality of Brazilian life.

'No other film has ever managed to portray as deeply what is ingrained in the Brazilian unconsciousness.' -Luiz Carlos Merten, Estadao

'HOUSEMAIDS is humorous and sensitive, whilst also managing to be a profound work of denunciation...This is a rare example of recent Brazilian cinema that is capable of unsettling the very core of anyone who sees it ... an historic documentary.' -Pedro Butcher, Folha de Sao Paulo

'Highlights the historical weight that underpins each casual gesture, each behavioral standard we so distractedly repeat as we go about our quotidian choreography.' -Fabio Andrade, Cinetica Magazine


** Best Film, 2012 Panorama Internacional Coisa de Cinema
** Special Mention, 2012 Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival
** 2012 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)
** 2013 Buenos Aires International Film Festival (BAFICI)
** 2012 IndieLisboa (Portugal)
** 2012 EDOC Documentary Film Festival (Ecuador)
** 2012 FIDOCS Documentary Festival (Chile)
** 2012 Distrital Mexico
** 2012 Tempo Documentary Festival (Sweden)
** 2012 Brasilia Film Festival


Main credits

Mascaro, Gabriel (Director)
Serrano, Eduardo (Film editor)

Other credits

Editor, Eduardo Serrano; photography, Claudomiro Carvalho Neto, ... [et al].

Distributor credits

A film by Gabriel Mascaro

Docuseek2 subjects

Family Issues
Women's Studies
Domestic Service
Latin American Studies

Distributor subjects

Cultural Studies
Economic Sociology
Family Relations
Labor Studies
Latin America
Latin American Studies
Race and Racism
South America
Women's Studies


Brazil; Housemaids; labor; women; Gabriel Mascaro; class; care; Sao Paolo; race; "Housemaids"; Icarus Films;

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