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Jellied Reels: La ciénaga (The Swamp)

101 mins
2001
BBFC 12A

A storm is brewing at a dilapidated summer house in northern Argentina. The borders of the garden merge strangely into a nearby forest; the house itself overgrown with family in-fighting and repressed impulses. After a drunken stumble, the mother is forced to recover in bed while relatives come to visit and hover idly around the pool.

This exquisitely observed and narratively reflexive debut from Lucrecia Martel (The Headless Woman, Zama) draws you deep into festering family dynamics, only for the ceiling fan to sling you into another claustrophobic corner. Sweaty and sordid, La ciénaga is a hazy trip through the prickly social ties of a stagnant society, and grants an enchanting, if not slightly sticky, proximity to its tenderly rendered characters.

A touch of (un-)refreshing family honesty for February's one-off screening.
Bring your loved ones.

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Director:
Lucrecia Martel