A modest housekeeper keeps being bullied by an hysterical bourgeois for no apparent reason. Forced to endure these abuses in order to avoid being sent back to Mexico, she makes a discovery that will change everything.
We are in a fancy Paris apartment. Emily, a 65-70 years old rich bourgeois, is the queen of her “castle”. She is obsessed with her blond, shiny hair. Like a golden waterfall. An uncomfortable silence always reigns supreme. She commands her housekeeper, Ana, a 50-55 years old humble Latin American, with arrogance and violence. Emily is allowed to do so because she knows that Ana really needs to work for her and to be protected, she is in France illegally, without a residence VISA. Ana initially tries to tolerate these abuses but enduring her becomes every day more and more difficult. The housekeeper every day notices an interesting detail: a golden hairbrush. Emily is obsessed with her hair: every day Ana can hear the noise of the brush on Emily’s hair; she is brushing them in a very noisy and strong way. Each evening. In her room, all by herself. One day, after being treated very badly once again, Ana decides to steal the brush, that represents the woman and something that Ana could never afford. A kind of revenge. But the next day, thinking to being alone at home, she starts doing some houseworks and trying Emily’s clothes, identifying herself with her, she hears Emily’s sobs from inside of her room. Ana peers from the slit of Emil’s door. Emily that morning hasn’t gone out, for having her usual walk. She is in the room, crying, without hair and with his bright blond wig on her left hand. Emily turns and sees Ana. She asks her in a desperate way if she has seen her hairbrush. The story ends like this. Ana sees her for the first time, finally human.
I want to tell this story because I think it can be a mirror in which the spectator can meet himself. He can meet himself in Ana, realizing that there’s always a reason behind things. Empathizing with Emily, however, the spectator can enjoy the experience of the "mask". Of the subtle difference between being and appearing. I would like that the spectator could understand the duality between the spirit and the social status, the abstract essence of someone in opposition to the concreteness of his identity. I wish this story allows anyone to get closer to the most general values of an humanity multifaceted that always gives the same answers to life.
The story is based on 4 main narrative questions:
- “Why Emily is so dominating and violent with Ana, to the limit of the acceptable?”
- “Why is the hairbrush so important for Emily?”
- “Why does Ana decide to steal the hairbrush?”
- “Why does Ana decide to dress up in Emily’s clothes?”
The protagonist is Ana, the character in whom we see a real evolution, caused by a new awareness. Ana is the humble housekeeper at a despotic widow’s home. She handles everything with care, always respecting the rules with discretion, but without receiving the same treatment back. Ana can’t leave the job because she is in America illegally without a residence VISA. Without that job she would be forced to return home to Mexico, where she probably would not be able to reach the end of the week. This is a round character with multidimensional aspects. At first she seems completely naive and simple. Incapable of profound thoughts and rationalizations. It's the portrait of a good housekeeper who dreams of a life that she hasn't. After discovering that Emily is sick, Ana acquires a depth that hadn't emerged yet.
The principal themes are: a) the human duality: how much people think about other people, awareness that there's always a reason behind things and that people are not what they seem; b) the disparity of the class: a humble housekeeper in a huge and luxurious house with a rich lady who dominates and who gives an image of herself of luxury, elegance and opulence. They find a point of intersection in the purest values of a compassionate humanity, transcending every rule, every social status and every imposed distance.
The location is very important to my story. The house becomes like a character that completes and gives depth to each character. For Emily, the external beauty of the castle mirrors the character's obsession with superficial appearance. For Ana: the house, luxurious, grand, and majestic, emphasizes her humility. In this way, the setting functions to underscore a central theme of my story; namely, class division and inequality. The theme is thus visually represented by the obvious contrast between the opulent, magnificent setting, and the modest Ana. However, the location must remain elegant without falling into kitsch. The location is the castle of our Queen, Emily. Candelabras, candles, silverware polished, mahogany furnitures, large bright windows, elaborate drapes, dominate a spacious living room. The hallway is long, and narrow. It leads to Emily's room, the room where the secret will be discovered.
The genre is drama. The goal of the story is to invite the viewers to enter into themselves becoming, in the process, moreaware of themselves as human beings. The empathy with these two characters does not allow for moments of humor, would ruin the reception of the message, making it more superficial, and not even moments of suspense. It is a drama, because the plot is about a disease, the difficult acceptance of the passage of time, and the power relationship between a housekeeper and her mistress, submission of one under the other, and the subsequent inner release from subjugation. Renaming a mistake.