Well worth a revisit, particularly in the equally (but differently) muddy light of Zama, Martel's recent di Benedetto adaptation, which sort of sets in (semi-stagnant) motion the swamp in which this earlier film's later characters swelter and discharge.
This is pretty impressive, though I early on began to be of the opinion that Martel's tactics are often too self-assertive, redundantly cynical, &, at times, kind of unpleasant. Though the film is filled to overflowing w/ detailed, suggestive visual ellipses, & endlessly shaded sound-design, these characteristics too repetitiously serve 2 underline the potential 4 violence within this milieu. Hated the final minutes.
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.
Martel’s masterpiece. It contains what is perhaps the most sensitive placement of people inside the frame. Dialogue is secondary; nowhere is the friction between characters expressed better than on their faces and movements to and away from each other. Cassavetes and Dreyer would have been proud.