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Ciénaga
     

La Ciénaga

Director: Lucrecia Martel, Graciela Borges, Martin Adjemian

Cast: Lucrecia Martel, Graciela Borges, Martin Adjemian

 

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Two families try to make the best of a bad situation as they suffer through a crippling heat wave in this neo-realistic drama, featuring a primarily non-professional cast. Tali (Mercedes Moran) is minding four small children with little help from her husband, who is preoccupied with the opening of hunting season, as a record hot spell grips Argentina. Things aren't

Overview

Two families try to make the best of a bad situation as they suffer through a crippling heat wave in this neo-realistic drama, featuring a primarily non-professional cast. Tali (Mercedes Moran) is minding four small children with little help from her husband, who is preoccupied with the opening of hunting season, as a record hot spell grips Argentina. Things aren't much better for her cousin Mecha (Graciela Borges), who is looking after four teenagers and a husband (Martin Adjemian) who can hardly be bothered to help out, but Mecha does have a pool, even if it hasn't been cleaned in quite a while. Tali and her brood end up spending much of the summer with Mecha as the town is riveted by the appearance of the Virgin Carmen on the city's water tower, and a series of thunderstorms add an awful humidity to the summer's unbearable heat. While seemingly improvised, La Cienaga was actually carefully scripted by Lucrecia Martel, who won a screenwriting award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival prior to making her directorial debut with this feature.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
A sober portrait of middle-class torpor and decadence, Lucrecia Martel's debut feature covers well-trod ground, but she gives the material her own imprimatur. Set in present-day Argentina, La Cienaga offers a snapshot of a culture stuck in a sweltering rut. The movie tells the story of two families' summer holiday, spent in a decaying estate in the mountains. Physical details accumulate: the insistent clinking of ice cubes in glasses, the scrape of metal chairs on a concrete patio, people splayed in beds trying to sleep through the humidity. Martel's knack for establishing tactile hyper-reality is almost too much -- this sticky, sweaty film can be off-puttingly palpable. Heightening the uneasy mood is the movie's busy sound design, which itself is amplified by the absence of a musical score. For U.S. audiences unfamiliar with contemporary Argentine culture, there is much in the film that is revelatory, such as a glimpse of that society's dysfunctional class dynamics and tortured race relations. Familiar though its targets and lessons may be, the movie is of a piece and has its own distinctive feel. Its occasional heavy-handedness and a needlessly reproachful ending aside, La Cienaga unfolds with an assurance that belies Martel's inexperience, and signals the emergence of a new talent in world cinema.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/01/2005
UPC:
0037429203828
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
NR
Source:
Homevision
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:40:00

Special Features

Digital transfer enhanced for 16:9 televisions; Rey Muerto, Lucrecia Martel's award winning short film; Director's statement; Original theatrical trailer; Liner notes by film professor, critic and cultural commentator B. Ruby Rich

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Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Afternoon Malaise [:23]
2. Fractured Family [9:08]
3. Class Lines [6:56]
4. Country Visit [6:56]
5. African Rat [7:37]
6. Mecha's Room [4:20]
7. The Dance [9:02]
8. Danger Lurking [6:42]
9. Fish Stew [7:26]
10. Discontent [4:08]
11. Domestic Politics [8:14]
12. Returning [7:09]
13. School Supplies [3:14]
14. Isabel's Departure [6:30]
15. Fate [3:29]
16. End Credits [4:58]

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