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A Maid for Each

December Film Programme



This film programme is free to watch in our bookshop and reading room during our opening hours.

Watch Maher Abi Samra’s critically acclaimed documentary Makhdoumin (A Maid for Each). Looking at an agency for domestic workers in Beirut, the film investigates the system of domestic labour in Lebanon which defines the worker as property.

Makhdoumin (A Maid for Each, 2016, 67 mins, Arabic with English subtitles) sheds light on the racialised commodification system of migrant workers through the agency and explores its embeddedness and reproduction of the market system. The film enters El Raed’s agency in Beirut, with the owner Zein arranging for Asian and African women to work in Lebanese households and assisting the clients in choosing “mail-order” housemaids that will best suit their needs. It highlights how advertisement, law, and police are supporting this exploitative system and its normalisation and trivialisation. The documentary was awarded the Peace Film Prize at Berlinale Film Festival and won the Best Film at Buenos Aires International Festival (BAFICI) and Best Documentary at Dubai Film Festival, amongst other awards and nominations. 

Read more about the research for the film documenting the domestic labour market in Lebanon here.

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 Institut National de l’Image et du Son, in Paris, and has worked as a photo-journalist for Lebanese dailies, and international agencies. His recent works as a writer and director include the feature-length documentary We Were Communists (2010),  Shatila Round-About (2004), Women of Hezbollah (2000), Chronicle of Returning (1995), the short documentaries Merely A Smell (2007), Building on the waves (1996), and the video essay My Friend (2003).

Images: Film Stills and Poster. Courtesy of the director and producers. 


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