I enjoy how Veronica's distractedness generates a line of futility which does not negate all the exuberant life surrounding her. Martel gets a lot out of these elements working against each other in different ways. And the director is less condescending here than in LA CIÉNAGA. Still, I find her style relentless. Certain formal decisions--her insistence on underlining jarring diagetic sounds-- seem too overstated.
The film is "about" a car accident, but it's clear that there is much more going on behind the scenes here. Look to the women in The Headless Woman: they are sick; they have fevers; their livers are failing; they are told they will infect others; they are mistaken for childless, barren women. They are eventually reduced to nothing, as is Vero when she discovers that she seems not to exist. Powerful and existential.
Martel enables the viewer to experience the almost total disorientation that is also plaguing the central character following her realisation that she has knocked something over. Scenes flow with very little explanation and the constant introduction of new characters is almost impossible to decipher especially in regards to their relationship to Vero. Exposes the injustices in Argentinian society too.
Lucretia Martel is an expert in the construction of perception. Her cinematic language is masterful and the way images merge with sound is no less than fantastic. An immersion into the head and soul of a woman on the edge of breakdown that represents an exquisite metaphor of Argentina's bourgeoise. A political subtext regarding the dirty war gives that particular theme a new fresh vision.
An eerie look at: paranoia, guilt, and sickness/injury. A middle class woman fears she has killed a person— all evidence suggests otherwise, and the film does well in presenting the 'texture' of injured/sick mental states. I feel some of my ability to connect to the film was mitigated by the language barrier, which is really nothing to stress about. An atmospheric account of guilt that was worth being challenged by.
"Martel's movie intuits and imitates Veró’s concussed state, a state which embraces evasive semi-consciousness. Shots are asymmetrically composed in such a way that we can't be sure what we are supposed to be looking at. Like Veró, the film glimpses the truth out of the corner of its eye." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian. Though a challenging (not quite enjoyable) viewing, I don't know why this was boo'd at Cannes.
Washing the cars. Changing the channels. Making the coffee. Planting the garden. Tending the sick. “The house is full of them. Shhhh! The dead. "They’re leaving now, don’t look at them, ignore them and they’ll leave.I would have preferred modernity. Here you move and everything squeaks.” A brooding look at the ghosts haunting Europe's incestuous diaspora as the world spins out of the past and into the future.
Feels something like a modern day Jeanne Dielman...was the concussion meant to wake her up to the routine or even the boredom of her life? Or was she more lively before the accident..? The scene of Vero hitting the dog (?) and riving off itself is jolting and stunning, it makes the entire film worth watching, but I would have loved to have seen a little more character buildup prior, creating a little contrast.