Lucrecia Martel's striking debut is a masterclass in filmmaking: a brilliant film full of well accomplished ideas. A subtle, keen & disturbing dissection of family decay that manages to create a menacing atmosphere of danger throughout. A contemporary masterpiece of Latin American cinema.
I was blown away by the unimpeachable excellence of Martel's subsequent two features, but it took seeing her debut feature to make me realize that she is one of the finest artists working today in any medium. I was absolutely floored. I can honestly not think of a greater debut in cinema ever. And it does exactly what any great debut does: it faultlessly discovers a way.
cuando el proceso de descomposición acelerado por un calor pegajoso, de delirio tropical, es mirado a través de una cámara glacial, surgen películas como ésta. la forma de la ciénaga es algo así como los hielos sobre los que se sirve vino o lo que se prefiera, pero mortal. las emociones vienen amortiguadas. se le mira a la bestia dentro del laberinto pero sólo se ven los damnificados
Marel's debut was a wry Buneulist trip into rural Argentina examining two related families in a claustrophobic and revealing way. A calling card for the director that put her on the international map. One feels the slow passing of time; the heat; the boredom and the strange feeling of family secrets and inapproriate relationships. In the background the question of faith, family and class structure.
The comparison to Cassavetes is totally valid, but let's not forget how much this feels like Bunuel. The family, seemingly trapped inside the compound for most of the film, not able to leave, not able to separate themselves from each other. No one can get out of anybody's way here and it's claustrophobic as all get out. Great, great film.