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Mecha (Graciela Borges) is a middle-aged woman with several accident-prone teenagers, a husband who dyes his hair, and the tedious problem of sullen servants. Nothing that a few drinks cant cure. To avoid the uncomfortably hot and humid weather, they spend their summers at a country estate whose glory has long faded, where the swimming pool is filthy, but still offers some relief. Mechas cousin, Tali (Mercedes Morán), lives in the nearby city La Ciénaga ("The Swamp") and has a crew of small, noisy children and a husband who loves his home, his kids, and hunting. Before long, the crowded, rough-and-tumble domestic situation strains both families nerves, exposing repressed family mysteries, and tensions that threaten to erupt into violence. Like Luis Buñuel before her, award-winning filmmaker Lucrecia Martel offers an unapologetic peek into the world of Argentinas decadent bourgeoisie.
- 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 (New York Times, Village Voice)
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Top customer reviews
Tali's family, living in the city, seems a little more sane, a little more whole, but her kids are smack in the middle of terrifying stages of growing up. Her two hyper-gendered daughters on the verge of puberty wear enough woman's make-up to look like kiddie-porn stars or circus clowns. When they are not being chased by little boys with water balloons, they are taunting their little brother with stories of the African rat-dog.
Some of the only music in the film follows Isa, the native; all else is the constant rumble of thunder, the ice tinkling in the Mecha's drink, and the silence of sullen frustration. Every scene is dangerous in its way, every volatile character was so full of desires gone bad, and all beauty was rotten underneath. Director Lucrecia Martel has created a refreshingly unromantic film in the romantic location of the Argentinean rainforest that leaves you with images as sticky as the heat.
Lucrecia Martel's first movie is a masterful and impressive piece of film-making. While truly original and undeniably personal and intimate, the film brings to mind the motives and the subjects of many great Artists from different cultures. There is a reference to Anton Chekhov's drama "Three Sisters", for example. Two cousins in La Ciénaga make plans to take a trip to Bolivia one weekend but never make it, just like three Chekhovian sisters dreamt to escape to Moscow, to start the new lives. Luis Bunuel's surreal and dark comedies come to mind immediately into the movie - its opening scene could be called "Indiscreet Repulsion of the Bourgeoisie". Martel could've also been inspired by never-ending tropical rain, the brilliant Gabriel Garcia Marquez's metaphor that perfectly depicts the decomposing and falling apart of once prosperous grand estate that is simply dying while the owners are too tired, bored, and lifeless to care. There are many children and young adults in the movie and you would expect that there is hope for the changes - sadly, not with those children and young adults. Seems that misery and failure are the contagious diseases that lurk on the surface of the estate's fetid filthy scary looking swimming pool.