La Ciénaga relies heavily on atmosphere and the viewer being able to go with the flow. This film is not for everyone, but it definitely stands out to me. It was Lucrecia Martel’s debut film, but it has reached a sort of cult status due to the film having an intense style of capturing social scenarios. This was my introduction to Martel’s work and I’m definitely going to try my best to see her other films.
La Ciénaga starts off with some of the most astonishing cinematography I’ve ever seen. We have Hugo Colace and Martel to thank for that. I’ll admit, it’s not a film that is very easy to follow as we are constantly on top of the actors following every move they make. There are two families spending time at a summer house in the country of Argentina. The adults drink constantly and the kids are free to find whatever entertainment they can. When no parent is watching, what occurs is authentic and scary.
I felt this sort of fog wash over me as I finished La Ciénaga . It’s a very bleak film with some bone-shaking performances. Graciela Borges and Mercedes Morán play the two mothers, Tali and Mecha, who are absolutely terrific every second they show up. All of the kids are so believable, in particular during the dancing scene in the middle of the film. I’m definitely going to rewatch La Ciénaga, because I’m not sure if I have felt the emotions that I felt after watching it and I want more.