Maher Abi Samra
A Maid for Each
Lebanon, France, Norway, United Arab Emirates
Producer: Sabine Sidawi
Production Company: Orjouane Productions
In many Lebanese households, lives an African or Asian domestic worker. There are currently 200,000 migrant domestic workers amongst 4 million Lebanese in Lebanon. Domestic work in Lebanon is a real market, segmented according to the national and ethnic origins of the worker, where the Lebanese employer is master, and the worker the property of the master. Zein is the owner of a domestic labour agency in Lebanon. He brings women from Asia and Africa to work in Lebanese houses. He assists his clients in choosing from a catalogue the maid that will suit best their needs. Rima plays the role of a maid on the stage and has a Sri Lankan domestic worker in her real life. The role of the ‘Master’ is quite familiar to her and she will have to face it with lucidity. Lati is a maid and she’s angry. Her anger is growing. She’s confident that one day everything will blow up and she will regain her rights. Through the three characters of Zein, Rima and Lati, I aim to dissect an entire system, a fully integrated logic in the daily life of the Lebanese that has become a given.
Maher Abi Samra was born in Beirut in 1965. He studied Drama Arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut and Audio-Visual Studies at the Institute National de l’Image et du Son, in Paris, and has worked as a photo-journalist for Lebanese dailies, and international agencies. He has directed several feature length documentaries including We Were Communists (2010), Chatila Roundabout (2004), Women of Hezbollah (2000), and Chronicles of Return (1995). His short films include Merely a Smell (2007 - Best short documentary in DOK Leipzig 2007, & Brazil's It's All True International Documentary Film Festival 2008), Mariam (2006), My Friend (2003), and Building on the Waves (1996).