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The Headless Woman

(La mujer sin cabeza)
Argentina/Spain/France/Italy 2008. Dir: Lucrecia Martel. 87 min. 35mm

“One of the great films of the decade.”
JAMES QUANDT, ARTFORUM

35mm PRINT! “The work of a genius, or at very least one of the most talented filmmakers in the world” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian), The Headless Woman is the mesmerizing third feature by Lucrecia Martel — and likely her chef d'oeuvre. María Onetto plays Verónica, a middle-aged, bottle-blonde dentist in Argentina’s Salta province who may or may not have struck and killed something — or someone — while driving home one afternoon. Verónica bangs her head in the process, and spends the film in a woozy, disorientated, concussive state, while the men in her pampered, privileged family apparently collude to erase all traces of the accident. The film’s dreamy hyper-reality and moody, mysterious metaphysics have drawn comparisons to Luis Buñuel, David Lynch, the Michael Haneke of Caché, and the Antonioni of L’Avventura and Blow Up. The indigenous bodies haunting the edges of the frame suggest that a deeper meditation on colonial guilt may be afoot. Print courtesy of Walker Art Center.

 

REVIEWS

★★★★★ "Disturbing and deeply mysterious, this tale of ghosts and guilt is nothing short of a masterpiece."

The Guardian | full review

NYT Critic’s Pick | "A brilliant, maddeningly enigmatic puzzle of a movie ... The more closely you study The Headless Woman, the deeper and more unsettling are its mysteries."

New York Times | full review