reverse shot interview with

lucretia martel, one of my favorite directors

few directors require as much from their audience. but the rewards are intimate and disturbing, lynch without the melodrama, far more subtle, and horrifying without the hatchet surrealism.

not that i have a problem with that, and lynch is obviously a touchstone for her.

her feature films are La Cienaga (The Swamp), The Holy Girl, & the subject of this piece (and her best work I think), The Headless Woman.

RS: The Headless Woman is built around an incredible performance. How did you work with Maria Onetto?

LM: When Maria and I were talking about the character, we tried to avoid the idea of amnesia. Because it’s not about amnesia. It’s about when you lose the link between things, and the link between a thing and what it means to you. It’s more of a shock. You know it’s a table, but you’re not sure what the table is for. I know that I know you, and I know that you’re a part of my family, but I don’t know if I hate you or love you.

I also didn’t want to link her with the idea of guilt. It doesn’t work. It’s useless to think deeply about perception and human beings and then to think about being guilty or not guilty. If you use the word “guilt,” you’re saying there is something precise, that there is a reality, and I’m not sure about that. The Headless Woman is not about a woman who feels guilty; it’s about a woman whose worlds are nearing collapse.


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February 2012
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