The capsule I wrote, way back when, on La cienaga
Paralysis: a dead animal is rotting in the swamp, in the mansion next door the bourgoisie is lying punch drunk in an equally dirty pool. Lucrecia Martel´s debut is an elliptical image of sweltering, ornery palsy. No goals, killing time: drinking on the veranda, lying on the bed to a constant TV drone. La cienaga
, the swamp, is not only out there, in front of the ominous hills, but in the souls. Not without black humour, Martel accentuates the daily racism in the the treatment of domestic servants, but concentrates on communication breakdown in the face of utter lack of perspective. The story is told via the bodies: While everything is standing still, the wounds multiply. Injuries due to carelessness, because of unaccounted hostility; the adults in a constant stupor, while the younger generation is prowling unattended, rifle in hand: blood and scab the last means of expression for a completely degenerated society. Although La cienaga
is a decidedly autobiographical work (and according to its maker, not far from Argentinian reality) its feverish, static mood suggests an apocalyptic science fiction novel in which an unspecified catastrophe has obliterated the will to live. Twice the flood comes, one can only hope for a liberating deluge: in vain.
I thought Atanarjuat
was entertaining, if slight: the praise for it (apart from its brilliant use of DV) has a taste of the folcloristic for me. I liked both the weird, oft-hilarious Beaver Trilogy
and the hopelessly retro-style, but remarkably consequent Songs From the Second Floor