10 August 2009

The Decade List: La niña santa (2004)

La niña santa [The Holy Girl] - dir. Lucrecia Martel

Few filmmakers can depict a sense of wonder quite as breathtakingly as Lucrecia Martel can. Her command of the cinematic form is evident throughout her second feature La niña santa, but it's fully realized in a singular moment midway through the film. Within the film, the scene, best described as the one where the "miracle" occurs, functions as somewhat of a springboard for teenage Amalia (María Alche) to carry out the muddled idea of salvation she's constructed, but for me personally, it's one of those rare instances in which one is reminded of why they fell in love with the cinematic arts in the first place.

Like the other exemplary scenes I can trace this love back to, it doesn't work its magic when extracted from the whole it came from. Martel's cinema is one of highly concentrated sensory immersion; few artists can entrance me the way she does. She brings me to a point in which I'm rendered silent, unable to convey with any efficiency the swarming thoughts she conjures or speculate why that is. Forgive my inarticulateness.

With: Mercedes Morán, María Alche, Julieta Zylberberg, Carlos Belloso, Alejandro Urdapilleta, Mía Maestro, Marta Lubos, Arturo Goetz, Alejo Mango, Mónica Villa, Leandro Stivelman
Screenplay: Lucrecia Martel, Juan Pablo Domenech
Cinematography: Félix Monti
Music: Andres Gerszenzon
Country of Origin: Argentina/Spain/Italy/Netherlands
US Distributor: HBO Films/Fine Line Features

Premiere: 6 May 2004 (Argentina)
US Premiere: 10 October 2004 (New York Film Festival)

Awards: Best Director, Best New Actress - Julieta Zylberberg (Clarin Awards, Argentina)

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