La Cienaga (2001)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

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.
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
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Martin Adjemian
as Gregorio
Leonora Balcarce
as Veronica
Silvia Bayle
as Mercedes
Andrea Lopez
as Isabel
Diego Baenas
as Joaquin
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Critic Reviews for La Cienaga

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (14)

Experiencing this film ultimately becomes as stimulating as watching metal rust.

February 15, 2002
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

There's a real energy in the way that La Cienaga takes nothing for granted -- except your attention and your intelligence.

December 13, 2001
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

A strikingly well-directed, relentlessly dreary debut feature from Argentine director Lucrecia Martel.

Full Review… | November 30, 2001
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Look closely and you'll find something not often present in your average art-house flick -- a hint, intense and unsettling, of art itself.

Full Review… | November 30, 2001
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Martel glues together a disjointed picture of a society where tension lies only skin deep.

Full Review… | November 29, 2001
Miami Herald
Top Critic

The triumph of La Cienaga lies in Martel's way of fashioning the kind of ensemble performance that draws us in by convincing us we're watching behavior, not acting.

November 2, 2001
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for La Cienaga


There is something fascinating in the way this brilliant film is constructed, directed and edited, as Martel draws a dreary, uncomfortably humid (and even hilariously exaggerated) portrait of Northern Argentinian bourgeoisie, especially with regards to social oppression.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

this film is one of those discomfort making works like mike leigh's naked or solondz' happiness. the study of a bourgeois family on vacation, mostly having a miserable time: there's no real plot here but the ending, when it comes, seems inevitable. rather stunning for a debut film. be warned: there are virtually no likeable characters. i'd love to see more of martel's work

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


A very promising debut from Lucrecia Martel. No real plot but that doesn't matter when it's such a great study a family life. Beautifully shot also.

Emily B.
Emily B.

Super Reviewer

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