FilmClub will be screening Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Woman at the Tatham Art Gallery in Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Pietermaritzburg, at 7 pm on Tuesday, July 26.
Even in a group as prodigiously talented as the filmmakers of what has been dubbed “New Argentine Cinema”, Lucrecia Martel stands out: it is unsurprising that as a young, emerging director she was mentored by no less a cinematic luminary than Pedro Almodóvar.
The Headless Woman fills the final slot in the club’s special focus on the cinema of Latin America and is both a very personal story about a woman struggling with guilt and confusion after an accident and a compelling allegorical account of the Argentine nation’s willed amnesia concerning the atrocities in its past.
Vero, a privileged member of the Argentine elite, has a car accident in which she is uncertain whether she has killed a dog or a child. She comes to believe the latter, but the men in her family both dismiss the possibility and quietly set about erasing all traces of the accident. The film’s title refers to the mental state of disorientation and dissociation that this bizarre situation produces in Vero herself.
If Martel’s subject matter engages and challenges the viewer, her visual strategies add another dimension to the film: her extraordinarily distinctive framing, and her unconventional use of extreme close-ups, shallow focus and sound make The Headless Woman as cinematically innovative as it is thematically rich.
Entry is R35 per person and the Tatham Coffee shop will be offering a soup and bread supper from 6 pm onwards (at a very reasonable R40 per person). Safe parking is available in the government parking lot next to the gallery.