Zama

Lucrecia MartelArgentina / Brazil / Spain / France / Netherlands / Mexico / Portugal / USA115 minutes201714AColourSpanish

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A sumptuous, fiercely elliptical, and often very funny period piece based on the classic Argentine novel of the same name by Antonio Di Benedetto, Lucrecia Martel's long-anticipated Zama focuses on its arrogant eponym Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho), an 18th-century Spanish magistrate — born in Latin America, and so deemed inferior to his European counterparts — eternally languishing in wait for a transfer from the pestilential outpost to which he has been relegated without his family. When his last hope of departure comes to naught, Zama joins an expedition to track down Vicuña Porto, a legendary outlaw who may or may not exist. The film's final sequences reach a fever pitch of hallucinatory splendour, the widescreen vistas of death-lurked landscapes amongst cinema's most memorably strange since the early days of Werner Herzog. "[A] formally thrilling colonial nightmare … The frustrating nine-year wait for new material from Martel has done nothing to blunt her exquisite, inventive command of sound and image, nor her knack for subtly violent exposure of social and racial prejudice on the upper rungs of the class ladder." (Guy Lodge, Variety).