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The Headless Woman

  • NR
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • After only three features, Lucrecia Martel has firmly established herself as one of world cinema's most distinctive visionaries. Following up on her subliminally atmospheric LA CIENAGA and THE HOLY GIRL, Martel goes even deeper into cinematic obliqueness with THE HEADLESS WOMAN. The story concerns Veronica (Maria Onetto), who accidentally hits something while driving one day. To the viewer, it appears to be a dog, but Veronica is unable to shake the fear that she killed a young boy. As the days wear on, she has trouble recalling even the most basic details of her life, to the point where she appears to be suffering from amnesia. Or is she simply trying to deny the truth about what really happened? All signs point to her being in the clear, yet just when she begins to feel okay another mysterious coincidence arises that makes her doubt herself once again.

    Martel challenges viewers in a way that will cause many to scratch their heads, but this is clearly calculated behavior on her part. By using clever sound design and exquisitely framed images, she creates a palpable tension that makes THE HEADLESS WOMAN feel like a most unlikely thriller. She is also driven by a desire to expose the horrific divides in Argentina's class system, making the film as much a work of social commentary as a fine example of thought-provoking entertainment. THE HEADLESS WOMAN is a film that demands multiple viewings to break through its mysterious surface.
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  • Credits
    Cesar Bordon, Daniel Genoud, Maria Onetto, Guillermo Arengo, Ines Efron, Maria Vaner, Claudia Cantero
  • Critic Reviews
    "A full appreciation of Lucrecia Martel's elegant, rain-soaked film, THE HEADLESS WOMAN, requires the concentration and eye for detail of a forensic detective. Every frame of this brilliant, maddeningly enigmatic puzzle of a movie contains crucial information..."
    New York Times

    "[Martel] succeeds in the accumulated effects of her dense soundtrack and artful compositions; where other filmmakers might see themselves as storytellers, she evokes this woman's narrow perspective in every minute detail." -- Grade: A-
    A.V. Club

    "[T]his subtle, elliptical film evokes its own kind of nightmarish situation....Martel continues to explore the consequences of self-absorbed upper-middle-class obtuseness and complacency."
    Los Angeles Times

    4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] stringently controlled Antonionian exercise in bourgeois alienation that's strewn with furtive references to Hitchcock..."
    Empire

    "[Martel's] most overtly political film to date....It is ultimately the most enigmatic, accomplished and rewarding."
    Sight and Sound

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