La Mujer sin Cabeza (The Headless Woman) (2008)
Critic Consensus: Careful and slight, Lucretia Martel's Headless Woman doesn't fit neatly into a clear storyline, but supports itself with ethereal visuals.
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Critic Reviews for La Mujer sin Cabeza (The Headless Woman)
If Hitchcock and Antonioni ever had an interest in class guilt, you'd have Martel.
In what could be one of the greatest films ever made about the emotional realities of a damaged mind, this giddily disorientating latest from Lucrecia Martel is a work of frenzied genius.
One of the film's great strengths is Martel's compressed visual power. Her ability to capture the disorientation of seeing the world from the seclusion of a car's interior is strangely compelling...
Martel's vision is so visually rich and complex it borders on the impressionistic, but The Headless Woman would be nowhere without the precise tour de force performance by Onetto.
A full appreciation of Lucrecia Martel's elegant, rain-soaked film, The Headless Woman, requires the concentration and eye for detail of a forensic detective.
Audience Reviews for La Mujer sin Cabeza (The Headless Woman)
With an exemplary cinematography, Martel shapes a simple hit-and-run premise into an intelligent (and unpredictable) social commentary - on race, class and gender issues - as well as a deliberate character study that forces us to share the character's psychological disorientation.
"The Headless Woman" is a compelling movie about Vero(Maria Onetto), a middle-aged successful dentist in the middle of an identity crisis. Ever since she dyed her hair blonde, she does not recognize herself anymore. Soon afterwards, she runs over something in the middle of the road with her car while trying to answer her phone, bumping her head in the process. She is not sure what she may have hit but does not do the right thing by stopping right away, either. What we know is what the movie tells us by showing children and a dog playing in the same area before she gets there, so it could be either. Her possibly having a concussion also leads to a sense of dislocation. And the movie plays with this by having police at the hospital where she gets treated but they are not there for her. Eventually her head clears, allowing us to know more about her. Vero is married to Marcos(Cesar Bordon). Her elderly mother says they do not have any children but then she is corrected. In fact, they have two, both in law school. All of which works well in a way but after a partial resolution, the movie eventually just grinds to a halt.
Vero is a vibrant, successful, mature woman who, through a moment of inattention, hits something with her car. It could have been a dog, it also could have been a child. La Mujer sin Cabeza is a slow-burn psychological drama, a tragedy that ebbs like a languidly receding tide. This is a premise that could have easily slid into the realm of pretentious melancholy but Maria Onetto's performance gives the story a little balance. A very brave film but one with a lethargic pace and limited appeal. Definitely not for everyone.
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