The Holy Girl
Lucrecia Martel directed this potent drama of love, sex, misunderstanding, and coming-of-age. Amalia (María Alche) is a girl edging into her early teens who has begun to ripen into adulthood. Amalia lives in a big hotel owned and operated by her divorced mother, Helena (Mercedes Morán), and her uncle Freddy (Alejandro Urdapilleta). Amalia and her best friend, Josefina (Julieta Zylberberg), are becoming increasingly aware of their own desires and are curious about sex, but between their Catholic education and Helena's unwillingness to discuss such matters with her daughter, their speculation outstrips their actual knowledge. A convention for medical workers brings Dr. Jano (Carlos Belloso) and a number of his colleagues to the hotel. Emboldened by the festive atmosphere, the timid doctor presses his body up against Amalia's, unaware of her age. The married Dr. Jano is embarrassed by his actions and troubled by his strong attraction to Helena; Amalia, meanwhile, is convinced the doctor has become overcome with unholy lust, and she and Josefina take it upon themselves to save him from himself before it is too late. La Niña Santa (aka The Holy Child) was produced in part by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar.