Lucrecia Martel's Salta Trilogy
April 20 - May 1
"When you discover an auteur so original, mature and elusive as Lucrecia Martel, you feel as if you're witnessing a miracle." - Pedro Almodóvar
"I am in cinema because of the influence of my grandmother, who told stories to me, and because of my parents, who told me films and stories. In the world of the cinema, I feel like an impostor. I belong to the ranks of family conversations, stories at siesta time, long telephone calls, etc. I admire very many film directors, but like distant relatives who you wouldn't invite for Christmas." - Lucrecia Martel
Lucrecia Martel's first three films, with their allusive, atmospheric, richly sensory style, established her as one of Latin America's most important and original filmmakers. The three films are sometimes referred to as the "Salta Trilogy," because of their loose thematic connections and their deep roots in her native Salta, a hilly northern province of Argentina that she considers as much a mythological landscape as a geographical one. To accompany our Chicago premiere run of Martel's fourth film ZAMA (April 13-19), we present the Salta Trilogy, all in 35mm prints.
— Martin Rubin, Associate Director of Programming
Special thanks to Brian Belovarac, Janus Films; Kristie Nakamura, Warner Bros. Classics; Ruth Hodgins, Walker Art Center.
The Headless Woman
La mujer sin cabeza
2008, Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 87 min. With María Onetto, Claudia Cantero.
"Every frame of this brilliant, maddeningly enigmatic puzzle of a movie contains crucial information…the more closely you study THE HEADLESS WOMAN, the deeper and more unsettling are its mysteries." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
From the director of the critically acclaimed LA CIÉNAGA and THE HOLY GIRL comes another Gordian Knot of a story in which questions of perception, memory, and interpretation threaten the placid surface of an upper-middle-class life. Verónica (Onetto), a middle-aged dentist driving alone on a deserted road, hits what she thinks to be a dog while distracted by her cell phone. In the days that follow, she becomes obsessed by the conviction that she actually hit a boy, but every person and circumstance in her life seems to suggest that the incident never happened at all. In Spanish with English subtitles. 35mm archival print courtesy of Walker Art Center. (BS)
2001, Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 103 min. With Mercedes Morán, Graciela Borges.
"A film that has an extraordinary cumulative power...Martel takes fundamental risks with form and style, and it pays off brilliantly." - Patrick Z. McGavin, Chicago Tribune
In the midst of drunkenly lounging beside her filthy swimming pool, bourgeois matriarch and all-around monster Mecha (Borges) falls on several broken glasses, necessitating a trip to the hospital and the perpetual assistance of her family thereafter. So begins Martel's debut feature, one of the masterpieces of contemporary Latin American cinema, which follows Mecha's children and distant relations as they navigate life in an uncomfortable, overcrowded house and the sticky title swamp that surrounds it. Martel's trademark disorientation and discontinuity are on full display here, as is her pessimistic view of the Argentinian middle class. In Spanish with English subtitles. 35mm. (CW)
The Holy Girl
La niña santa
2004, Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 106 min. With Mercedes Morán, Carlos Belloso.
"Takes a potentially explosive subject and does it subtly and perceptively." - Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
Subtitled "The Temptation of Good and the Evil It Causes," this perverse, provocatively ambivalent fable is set in the same torpid backwater as her celebrated debut LA CIÉNAGA. When impressionable 14-year-old Amalia is groped by a doctor on a crowded street, she takes it as a divine signal to save his soul. In town for a medical convention, he happens to be staying at the hotel run by her mother, where this nemesis nymphet relentlessly stalks her molester to his salvation...or his doom. In Spanish with English subtitles. 35mm. (MR)