How may we serve you?

I guess I expected too much of this. Last year the Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels) presented Renzo Martens’ controversial movie/documentary Enjoy poverty. So I thought that for a documentery to be presented at the festival, it had to be really special. Vous êtes servis, premiering at this year’s festival, is part of a trilogy by Jorge León, Simone Aughterlony & guests, focusing on ‘domestic service and servitude’. It’s a documentary about the lives of poor Indonesian girls hoping to earn a decent living working as a maid in the Middle East or Asia. In Vous êtes servis León juxtaposes two extremes: the apparent normality of life in a training centre for those maids, and the violence and sadness described in (anonymous) letters that are read out in the movie. Of course this is a saddening business, but I had expected more from this documentary. Somehow it falls between two stools. For a documentary the ‘journalistic’ approach could have been much stronger, and if you’re looking at this from an artistic point of view, you will be disappointed too.

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