Tropical Maladies: The Cinema of Lucrecia Martel, week two

28 Sep


A bit of a mix for Melbourne Cinematheque this week- a screening of Lucrecia Martel’s film The Headless Woman (2008) which was produced by Pedro Almodovar, followed by Almodovar’s own The Flower of My Secret (1995).

Martel’s third film follows the mental collapse of Veronica (Maria Onetto) after she hits something in her car. Not sure whether she has hit a child or an animal Veronica seems unable to go on with her life. She retreats into a non-reality, trying to piece together the events that brought her along the stretch of road that will ultimately be her undoing. Premiering at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, The Headless Woman continues Martel’s look at memory, illusion, her use of close up and spatial disorientation through framing.

The Flower of My Secret is often seen as signalling Almodovar’s foray into melodramas. Leo (Marisa Paredes) is a successful romance novelist under the pen-name Amanda Gris yet her own life is far from satisfactory, having begun to affect her work. Leo’s emotionally and physically distant husband (Imanol Arias) wishes to end their relationship just as Leo meets a newspaper editor who falls for her. After writing a dark novel about relationships (this short story would later become the plot of Almodovar’s Volver (2006)) Leo takes an overdose of pills, is sent away to the country and has her short story turned into a film. Scenes from The Flower of My Secret also went on to inspire Almodovar’s All About My Mother (1999).

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