Every film directed by Lucrecia Martel, ranked

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Lucrece Martel is one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. This Argentinian director, screenwriter and producer has worked on many short films and some feature films, all of which are internationally renowned. Martel was born and raised in the province of Salta, but later moved to Buenos Aires to pursue her passion for cinema. She eventually ventured into directing shorts, making her directorial debut with The 56. Among his most notable short films are Besos Reds and Rey Muertowhich is considered a cornerstone of the new Argentine cinema.


After several years working on short films and television series, Martel made his feature film debut in 2001 with La Cienaga, a film that remains among the best Latin American films to this day and for which she won numerous awards, including the Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival and Best Director, Best Actress, Best Sound and Grand Coral at the Havana Film Festival. His subsequent films also won numerous accolades and were even nominated for a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2019, three of his feature films were included in the BBCThe list of the 100 best films directed by women. Let’s take a look at all the movies Martel has made.

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4/4 La Niña Santa (The Holy Girl)

La Niña Santa Claus is Martel’s second feature with the legendary Pedro Almodóvar, Lita Stantic, Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García as producers. This 2004 pic, co-produced by Argentina, Spain and Italy, stars Mercedes Morán, Carlos Belloso, Alejandro Urdapilleta, María Alché, Julieta Zylberberg, Mónica Villa and Marta Lubos, and earned a nomination for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Festival.

La Niña Santa Claus was co-written by Martel and Pablo Domenech and, like most of his films, is set in the north of the country. In this case, the main setting is a dilapidated hot springs hotel in which Helena and Freddy, as siblings and landlords, live. The woman has a teenage daughter named Amalia, who regularly attends Catholic church groups with her friend Josefina.

But as they strengthen their devotion to religion and the call of God, they also experience a sexual awakening. The hotel is hosting a medical conference, and that’s how Amalia meets Dr. Jano, a married doctor who was clearly interested in his own mother and also had inappropriate attitudes towards the girl. But Amalia herself has an idea in mind: to prevent this prestigious professional from falling into sin and temptation, convinced that this is the divine mission she has been waiting for.

Related: Best Latin American Movies Of The 2010s, Ranked

3/4 La Mujer Sin Cabeza (The Headless Woman)

This 2008 film follows an utterly harrowing journey through the life of Veronica, a renowned dentist who accidentally spills something while driving down the road. Unconscious, the woman continues to drive, thinking it must be a dog. Yet soon her daily routine is disrupted, as Veronica begins to think she may have killed a child. Fears and doubts take hold of her, consume her from within and affect every aspect of her life, and just when she manages to get through it all, things get worse: a dead body is discovered on the road. , very close to where she had the accident.

La Mujer Sin Cabeza allows the audience to experience this situation from a first-person point of view, perfectly conveying all the emotions of the main character, but at the same time leaving everyone’s interpretation to their own will. It is a co-production between Argentina, France, Italy and Spain, with María Onetto, Claudia Cantero, César Bordón, Daniel Genoud, Guillermo Arengo, Inés Efron and María Vaner.

2/4 Zama

The movie 2017 Zama is, so far, Martel’s most recent film, and it differs greatly from his other productions: it is not a contemporary story, it does not take place in Salta, and it is not a script created by Lucrecia, but based on a novel by Antonio Di Benedetto. Set at the end of the 18th century, Zama follows Don Diego de Zama, a Spanish Crown official who is sent to work in Asunción, Paraguay. Don Diego leaves his life and his family behind and encounters a new, much more solitary existence, which he hopes will lead him to a brighter future. The civil servant spends his days waiting to be transferred to Buenos Aires, in recognition of his work, but this goal seems impossible to achieve.

While still waiting, Don Diego is slowly deteriorating. Deeply distressed and tired of nostalgia, the man decides to join a group of soldiers who set out for distant lands to capture a dangerous bandit, a mission that could restore his hope and will to live. This production stars Daniel Giménez, Lola Dueñas, Matheus Nachtergaele and Juan Minujín, and premiered at the Venice International Film Festival.

Related: 8 Must-See Movies From Female Directors

1/4 La Ciénaga (The Marsh)

La Cienaga was Martel’s first film and remains his best-known and most acclaimed production to this day. This 2001 film stars Graciela Borges, Mercedes Morán, Martín Adjemián and Daniel Valenzuela, and was co-produced between Argentina, France and Spain. La Cienaga presents two families bruised by misfortune. On one side we have Mecha and her children, a well-positioned but decadent family of rural producers. On the other, Tali, Mecha’s cousin, who leads a more modest life with her husband and four children.

In a sweltering summer, when a storm is about to break out, all these people are forced to live together in La Mandrágora, a dilapidated property in the town of La Ciénaga, where everything seems to stagnate, but at the same time, the tension goes up and the situation is about to explode. This production is marked by unease, by the feeling that nothing is happening when in fact thousands of things are happening. A masterpiece of Argentinian cinema that truly belongs on any watch list.

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