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La Cienaga (2001)

Cast: Graciela Borges, Martin Adjemian, Juan Cruz Bordeu, more...
Director: Lucrecia Martel
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Homevision
Genre: Comedies, Foreign, Black Comedy, Spain, Dysfunctional Families, Latin America
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: Spanish
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Two families try to make the best of a bad situation as they suffer through a crippling heat wave in this neo-realistic drama, featuring a primarily non-professional cast. Tali (Mercedes Moran) is minding four small children with little help from her husband, who is preoccupied with the opening of hunting season, as a record hot spell grips Argentina. Things aren't much better for her cousin Mecha (Graciela Borges), who is looking after four teenagers and a husband (Martin Adjemian) who can hardly be bothered to help out, but Mecha does have a pool, even if it hasn't been cleaned in quite a while. Tali and her brood end up spending much of the summer with Mecha as the town is riveted by the appearance of the Virgin Carmen on the city's water tower, and a series of thunderstorms add an awful humidity to the summer's unbearable heat. While seemingly improvised, La Cienaga was actually carefully scripted by Lucrecia Martel, who won a screenwriting award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival prior to making her directorial debut with this feature. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

A b u r r i d i s i m o ! ! ! by HPearson October 20, 2007 - 8:30 AM PDT
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
I rented this film because I love Argentina (I lived there for a while and my fiance is Argentine), and in general I have loved the Argentine cinema I've seen. But this movie is just downright boring. I sat there for an hour and a half waiting for something to happen.....and nothing ever did. Don't waste your time!

Real People, Argentine Style by talltale March 3, 2005 - 5:33 PM PST
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Imagine you are a houseguest in the home of a large extended family and that you know only one of its members slightly. But here you are, nonetheless, spending a weekend among people with whom you have little connection. So you learn about them bit by bit, overhearing snippets of dialog, seeing them eat, drink (a lot), connect, fight, and have (very little) fun--but you never quite know the full story or extent of these "connections." Yet the people and the place are strangely fascinating. They pull you in and hold your attention so that, slowly, you do learn. This is how writer/director Lucrecia Martel has designed her movie LA CIENAGA, and it's a masterful piece of filmmaking. It may bring to mind the plays of Anton Chekhov in the way its ruling-class characters are so stationary and clueless, and how the viewer comes slowly to discern relationships.

The country here is Argentina, and the people are the bourgeoisie (along with their Indian servants, whom they force into an unhealthily symbiotic relationship). Racism is rife and thoughtless--unpleasant enough as done by the old folk, and even worse when the children exercise it. It's been awhile since I have seen a movie that offers so little exposition; you really have to watch, listen and wait until things clarify (only a portion of them ever do). I suspect that this film must have upset Argentines terribly--divided them in two by holding so boldly its mirror up to society's face. The actors do a fine job of creating characters who are real, mostly unlikable but not easily dismissed. If I were Argentine, I would understand more of what is going on here; as it is, "La Cienaga" is still a movie I'll remember for a long while.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.72)
18 Votes
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