Lucrecia Martel

Lucrecia Martel

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The Headless Woman [La Mujer Sin Cabeza] Review


Excellent
There's so much going on in between the lines of this film that it can seem almost overwhelming to watch. But gifted filmmaker Martel has crafted an unnervingly internalised thriller for adventurous moviegoers.

When Veronica (Onetto), a respected wife and mother, hits something with her car, she starts to become disconnected from the bustling, well-heeled European society she lives in, haunted by the indigenous people living around the edges of her life. This is clearly caused by guilt, but is that due to her affair with an in-law (Genoud) or the fact that she may have killed someone. As her mental confusion grows, her husband (Bordon) and lover seem to close ranks around her to make everything right again.

Continue reading: The Headless Woman [La Mujer Sin Cabeza] Review

The Holy Girl Review


Weak
Lucrecia Martel's The Holy Girl has its finger on something for sure, it's just not quite sure what to do with it. An Argentinean film of rare beauty and smoldering sensuality, it's set in an old, family-run hotel where a medical conference is taking place. The young teenage girl of the title, Amalia (Maria Alché) lives in the hotel and is possessed of an uncommonly emotional religious fervor. There's an old European spirit to her spiritual devotion, which is brought to an even higher pitch by the church study sessions she attends after choir (in a different age, you almost feel that she would have found a way to get martyred, and there would be a church consecrated in her memory). But Amalia has little idea how to vent her feelings, other than in prayer and at her best friend and semi-girlfriend Josefina (Julieta Zylberberg), who seems to share both Amalia's religious passion and her romantic yearnings.

However, both girls have other outlets for their feelings. Josefina has a boy whom she allows to come over and have sex with her, but only if she's turned away from him and he doesn't talk. Amalia's passions take a darker bent one day when she's out in the street with a crowd watching a man playing a spooky piece on a Theremin, when one of the doctors in town for the conference comes up behind her and rubs up against her suggestively. They don't say a word and she barely sees him as he scurries off. In what most would take as an unfortunate turn of events, this Dr. Jano (Carlos Belloso) is the man whom Amalia's mother Helena (the impossibly beautiful Mercedes Morán) decides to spark up a relationship with. But Amalia seems to take this as a challenge, as she sets about trying to save Dr. Jano from his own darker impulses, a mission that takes on certain romantic shadings the more involved she gets.

Continue reading: The Holy Girl Review

La Ciénaga Review


Extraordinary
Reviews of Argentinean director Lucrecia Martel's second feature, 2004's The Holy Girl, tended toward the same complaint: the plot was unshaped, despite the presence of an obviously gifted director. Call it a sophomore slump, then, because Martel already had one great film under her belt at the time. Released on DVD domestically right around the time The Holy Girl hit American theaters, 2001's La Ciénaga is the most remarkable debut in recent experience.

The title translates as "the swamp," but it's also the name of the Argentinean city that serves as the film's setting. In this sweltering backwater, two branches of the same large family are put back in contact when a pair of accidents lands a member of each in the clinic run by "the gringo," a local doctor. One group - a married couple with innumerable children and their constantly-present friends - lives in the city, comfortably, but still scraping to get by. The other - an heiress, her drunken husband, their innumerable children, and an indigenous housekeeper named Isabel - pass the hours in a lavish but crumbling estate attained through a ridiculously complex series of gates near the mountains outside La Ciénaga. When the city family pays their relatives a visit at this estate, the repressed drama of La Ciénaga gets underway.

Continue reading: La Ciénaga Review

Lucrecia Martel

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