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The Holy Girl (2004)

Cast: Mercedes Morán, Mercedes Morán, Carlos Belloso, more...
Director: Lucrecia Martel, Lucrecia Martel
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: HBO Home Video
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Spain, Coming of Age , Latin America
Running Time: 104 min.
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Lucrecia Martel directed this potent drama of love, sex, misunderstanding, and coming-of-age. Amalia (María Alche) is a girl edging into her early teens who has begun to ripen into adulthood. Amalia lives in a big hotel owned and operated by her divorced mother, Helena (Mercedes Morán), and her uncle Freddy (Alejandro Urdapilleta). Amalia and her best friend, Josefina (Julieta Zylberberg), are becoming increasingly aware of their own desires and are curious about sex, but between their Catholic education and Helena's unwillingness to discuss such matters with her daughter, their speculation outstrips their actual knowledge. A convention for medical workers brings Dr. Jano (Carlos Belloso) and a number of his colleagues to the hotel. Emboldened by the festive atmosphere, the timid doctor presses his body up against Amalia's, unaware of her age. The married Dr. Jano is embarrassed by his actions and troubled by his strong attraction to Helena; Amalia, meanwhile, is convinced the doctor has become overcome with unholy lust, and she and Josefina take it upon themselves to save him from himself before it is too late. La Niña Santa (aka The Holy Child) was produced in part by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Wholly--Ironically--Holy by talltale September 11, 2005 - 8:35 PM PDT
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Lucrecia Martel's THE HOLY GIRL, like her earlier "La Cienaga," dispenses almost entirely with exposition (or disguisers it alarmingly well) while giving viewers a remarkable, close-up look at the thoughts, feelings and actions in its characters' lives. For some, this will be off-putting; others will dive in and enjoy. Present-day Argentina--its middle-class economic, social, sexual and religious life with all the usual hypocritical baggage--is slowly drawn and quartered here.

Less anti-religious, anti-class or anti-male/female than simply anti-life as it is currently lived--and ruled--first by need and second by hypocrisy and denial, this film is a wonderful "observation" of life. Martel does not comment on her observations, but leaves that to us, post-movie. Most filmmakers would not end their work where she does (in the middle of the climax, yet!). This may make for a less satisfying experience, movie-wise. But it does leave us with the realization that-- whatever happens--this same repetitive, pointless, denying life will go on.

Reading the collection of critics' and members' reviews (on another site) that have appeared regarding this film has been a revelation: Evidently, for each individual who appreciates it, the movie means something quite different. I would say that this is the mark of a subtle, intelligent artist who, by holding up her camera/mirror, is creating what she wants--audience be damned.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.39)
46 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2004
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
Film Freak Central's Best of 2005
No affiliation, I just think they are one of the best film review sites out there.

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