Walker Art Center

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The Headless Woman (La mujer sin cabeza)

Directed by Lucrecia Martel

The Headless Woman is no willfully opaque puzzler designed to alienate; Martel is out to confound and bedazzle us, and to worry us too. You’d have to be headless or heartless yourself not to let this extraordinary, eerie film get under your skin.” —The Independent (UK)

From one of the most original filmmakers working today, The Headless Woman constructs an elusive mystery from events that may be real, imagined, or wholly allegorical. Veroníca (María Onetto), an affluent professional, hits something with her car when she’s distracted by her ringing cellphone, but continues driving. Needled by her conscience in the following days, she attempts to piece together what happened yet seems to be slowly losing her grasp on reality. The riddle that director Lucrecia Martel leaves us with is full of opaque menace and vague possibilities as well as allusions to Argentina’s class stratification and painful political history. Underscoring it all is an atmosphere so visually and aurally rich as to seem almost tangible. 2008, 35mm, in Spanish with English subtitles, 87 minutes.

Martel’s 2001 feature La Ciénaga received awards at the Berlin, Sundance, Havana, and Toulouse film festivals, and its script received the Sundance NHK Filmmakers Award. Her next two films, The Holy Girl and The Headless Woman, were selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival. A member of the “New Argentine Cinema” movement, Martel is currently working on a new feature, Zama, set in Paraguay and Argentina in the 17th century and adapted from a book by Argentine journalist Antonio di Benedetto. This new project was awarded the World View New Genres Fund Development award at the 2013 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

The Headless Woman is one of 16 35mm prints generously donated by Strand Releasing to the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Study Collection. This is its first theatrical screening in Minneapolis.


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