La Ciénaga
2001 / 103m - Argentina
Comedy, Drama
The Swamp poster


November 06, 2021


A breakthrough film for Lucrecia Martel. After years of making short films and documentaries, she finally got her chance to make a feature film. It's a pretty interesting look at an Argentinian family, in Martel's typical, somewhat detached, but equally captivating style, though still somewhat heavy on the drama.

A family is visiting La Ciénaga, a somewhat treacherous domain in the north of Argentina. The place they're staying at is a dump, and when Mecha, the mother of family, lands herself on some broken glass, it appears the vacation is doomed. Things get even more crowded and chaotic where her niece Tali decides to visit.

Martel's style is rather interesting, as there's a lot of "show, don't tell" going on. The framing is nice, the location is pretty cool too. There's no real goal the film works towards, it feels more like a selection of smaller vignettes bundled in a convenient story, but that does help to keep things interesting. I'm still not entirely on board with Martel's style, but this was pretty solid.