“TO what extent can a mother sacrifice just to give her child a better life?”
An official selection at the 40th Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF), “The Pleasure Of Being Served” by Michael Manese is a story of the inner struggle between principle and pragmatism.
The 15-minute short film centers on Rosa, a single mother from the Philippines who chose to work in the U.S. as a domestic helper with the hope of bringing her son along to the “the land of the free.”
She works for a young and rich American named Hudson, who is caught between two lovers at the same time: Lynn, also a Filipina, and Jen, an American, both of whom don’t know about Hudson’s shenanigans. Having befriended both of them, Rosa knows exactly the consequence of infidelity.
Rosa is torn between telling the two women about Hudson’s manipulative lies and to leave, or keeping mum about his deceit and accept Hudson’s generous offer.
A simple depiction of an undocumented immigrant far away from home, yet a multifaceted narrative, “The Pleasure Of Being Served” speaks of the dilemma of our modern day heroes.
“I would like the audience to come out of the theater experiencing complex emotions. Was Rosa right in what she did? What was she thinking? What would have the audience done in her situation?” said Manese, the writer and director of the film.
Drawing inspirations from different outlooks, the main character is inspired from Manese’s previous Latin American housekeeper while Hudson is from his favorite movie, “Hud.” He also shared that he’s always been fond of doing a film with subtitles.
“I always wanted to do a movie with subtitles. I loved the movies ‘The Remains of the Day’ and ‘Hud’. Both are two of my favorite movies ever that just, coincidentally, have similar themes,” he said.
According to Manese, the title came from an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” where the mother goes to a restaurant and tells her family to leave her alone; she just wants to have the pleasure of being served.
The short film is currently being written into a feature-length film set in 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, in the light of Trump’s administration wherein the deportation is a threat to undocumented immigrants.
The festival will until August 5 in New York City.