Argentine Genius: The Films of Lucrecia Martel

The Headless Woman

La Mujer sin cabeza

Lucrecia MartelArgentina / France / Italy / Spain87 minutes200814AColourSpanish

Feb 25
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Surely one of the best films of the last decade, Martel's portrait of a woman seized by the belief that she has committed a crime reminds one of Antonioni's epistemological mysteries. Driving in the country, middle-aged dentist Verónica (María Onetto) hits and kills a dog with her Mercedes — or does she? As the men in her provincial but powerful family casually collude to erase all traces of what may or may not be a hit-and-run, Headless masterfully enters the realms of conspiracy thriller, trance film, ghost story, and political allegory. Though the title suggests a horror movie, it serves (as does so much in this mysterious film) as a metaphor for mindlessness, willed forgetfulness, feigned amnesia. Weightless and mesmerizing, dense and confounding, The Headless Woman remains a model of subtle, insinuating moviemaking. Not to be missed by anyone interested in world cinema. "Could be one of the greatest films ever made about the emotional realities of a damaged mind … a work of frenzied genius" (David Jenkins, Time Out London).

35mm original theatrical print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive.