743 La ciénaga

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domino harvey
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743 La ciénaga

#1 Post by domino harvey » Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:54 pm

ImageImage

The release of Lucrecia Martel’s La ciénaga heralded the arrival of an astonishingly vital and original voice in Argentine cinema. With a radical take on narrative, disturbing yet beautiful cinematography, and a highly sophisticated use of on- and offscreen sound, Martel turns her tale of a decaying bourgeois family, whiling away the hours of one sweaty, sticky summer, into a cinematic marvel. This visceral take on class, nature, sexuality, and the ways political turmoil and social stagnation can manifest in human relationships is a drama of amazing tactility and one of the great contemporary film debuts.

Disc Features
DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:

New 4K digital film transfer, approved by director Lucrecia Martel, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interview with filmmaker Andrés di Tella about Martel and the film
Trailer
New English subtitle translation
More!
PLUS: An essay by critic David Oubiña

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domino harvey
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#2 Post by domino harvey » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:17 pm

Not familiar with this, but it was one of our member's "swapsies" in the last 00s List Project, so it seems like it has its fans here. This is another hVe title, I believe

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Ashirg
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#3 Post by Ashirg » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:27 pm

Home Vision release also included a short Rey muerto. Maybe that's what they mean by "More!"

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colinr0380
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#4 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:27 pm

Wonderful news, La ciénaga is a fantastic ensemble drama centred around two cousins and their respective families, and pulls off some amazing tricks with audience expectations and offscreen events recontextualising the onscreen dramas. It also works as a great primer helping to unlock the later films, particularly The Headless Woman, which is more complex, but more focused on a single character (and even their internal psychology at that).

As to the "More!", I wonder if we might get some of Martel's early short films?
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#5 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:55 pm

Here is the trailer....Looks interesting.

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"membrillo"
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#6 Post by "membrillo" » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:59 pm

WOW!

la cienaga came out of left field! My wife is still asking what I kept saying "holy shit" about! Bring on more LM.

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leo_floyd
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#7 Post by leo_floyd » Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:08 pm

Hardly my favorite Argentinian film, but a very good one nonetheless. And hopefully the first one from many other good South American films Criterion could release.

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M_Penalosa
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#8 Post by M_Penalosa » Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:19 pm

My second favorite film of the millennium.

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bdsweeney
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#9 Post by bdsweeney » Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:28 pm

This is a good reminder that I've purchased "The Headless Woman" but have yet to watch it. I guess my reaction to that will determine if I purchase "La Cienaga" or not.

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colinr0380
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#10 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Oct 16, 2014 4:48 am

Thinking about it I kind of hope that the "More!" is the 2005 South Bank Show episode devoted to Latin American Cinema which focused on a number of 'up and coming' filmmakers: Martel (with La ciénaga), Daniel Burman (Lost Embrace) and Pablo Trapero (Familia Rodante). Although this is not just devoted to 'New Argentinian Cinema' as I seem to remember that the progamme also goes into Uruguayan directing partners Juan Pablo Rebella (who sadly died the year after the programme was made) and Pablo Stoll too.

Hopefully it shouldn't be too big of an ask given that Criterion have licensed South Bank Show episodes before, but I guess we'll see!

In terms of further Argentinian cinema, I'd also recommend Fabián Bielinsky's excellent Mamet-esque twisty, double-crossing, sleight of hand crime drama Nine Queens set during the country's currency crisis in the late 90s, with its backdrop of hyperinflation devaluing currency and riots (which got a ho-hum out of its original context US remake called Criminal starring John C.Reilly, Diego Luna and Maggie Gyllenhaal in 2004). And I also really like Belinsky's low key thriller El Aura, also starring Ricardo Darin.

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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#11 Post by Rupert Pupkin » Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:46 am

great news indeed!

is the 1.85:1 on Criterion.com accurate ?

the DVD I had bought as a 1:33 ratio. I've never seen this movie in theatres.
Since 1:33 could be deberately for some movies (Andrea Arnold's "Fish Tank", "Wuthering Heights", some Gus Van Sant's movies and of course E.Rohmer) I thought that this was deliberate..

For some reasons I can't totally explain, it makes me think of "Cría cuervos" but the atmosphere is far more frightening ("Spirit Of The Beehive" was strange) here there is a constant mixed-feelings/emotions of insecurity, torpor (a zombie-like atmosphere), tenderness, laughs, that "something really bad with happen" (I won't go further - no spoiler) (the trailer for the movie (mind you, one of the trailer - I don't remember for which country this trailer was edited it was, but it had been edited/cut so that you can believe that the house/family had been attacked)
Despite the fact that the picture was really bad on the DVD, the photography was awesome : and that mix of beauty, mud, nature,... blood... was really special....

if the ratio is 1:85; and the promise of a superb copy, I will probably totally rediscover this movie on blu-ray...

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Gregory
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#12 Post by Gregory » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:54 pm

All of Martel's features have been widescreen.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#13 Post by FrauBlucher » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:59 pm

The more has been added and it's a new interview with Martel.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:

New 4K digital film transfer, approved by director Lucrecia Martel, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interview with Martel
New interview with filmmaker Andrés Di Tella about Martel and the film
Trailer
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: An essay by film scholar David Oubiña

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Ashirg
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#14 Post by Ashirg » Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:57 am

I was hoping for some shorts.

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Fred Holywell
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#15 Post by Fred Holywell » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:24 pm

On TCM early Monday morning at 2:15.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#16 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:00 am

This is odd. Wondering if there'll be a delay.... We are a week out from release and neither Tooze nor Dr Svet have reviewed this. As a matter of fact, they are well into reviewing Febuary titles.

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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#17 Post by Rupert Pupkin » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:19 am

this is one of the upcoming Criterion with the highest expectations for me regarding the picture quality... [-o<

But Dr Svet seems to have received his Blu-Ray since he posted on Criterion thread (check it at blu-ray.com) some photos taken from the packaging of La ciénaga (well, no more booklet like the recent Criterion releases- inside jewel case photos, etc...)

There doesn't seem to be a delay since my retailer has just shipped La Ciénaga (I have already received the R.W.Fassbinder "...Petra Von Kent")

My guess is that Dr Svet also received "Don't Look Now" and was pleased to post quickly a review with screenshots (and this was one of my other most-wanted Criterion and I'm glad that the picture quality is better than the UK Blu-Ray release- well, please give us back the grain on "La Peau Douce" (I have bought the Artificial Eye Blu-Ray though) and I'll be in heaven)

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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#18 Post by cdnchris » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:15 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:This is odd. Wondering if there'll be a delay.... We are a week out from release and neither Tooze nor Dr Svet have reviewed this. As a matter of fact, they are well into reviewing Febuary titles.
I have it so it hasn't been delayed (and you shouldn't be worried, it looks great!) I'm guessing they just didn't get test/screener copies and had to wait for finished copies to be sent out.

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Minkin
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#19 Post by Minkin » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:38 am

No need to worry (I think a lot of reviewers are still backlogged from the holidays - Svet still hasn't reviewed Les Blank either :P ), as

here is Blu-ray.com's review with top marks on AV quality.

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tenia
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#20 Post by tenia » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:57 am

I'll have a look at home because I've been tricked by my office system in the past, but Svet's caps look unusually heavily compressed to me.

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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#21 Post by ordinaryperson » Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:50 pm


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colinr0380
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#22 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:16 pm

Spoilers:

I re-watched the film last night on this new edition, and it remains as great as ever. I find it a slightly difficult film to judge as it is full of almost too on-the-nose foreshadowings of events to come or obviously dysfunctional relationships that are being worried at like a rotten tooth, and that can make the film seem contrived and perhaps schematic in manipulating its characters (and the audience) into inescapable situations. But I think that is part of what makes the film so magnificent, as these obvious issues are apparent to everyone (especially the children watching and learning from their elders) and the way that everyone is aware of say Mecha's husband being a useless drunken flake, or José hitting on every girl in sight including close relatives, but there is nothing really that can be done about it (the issues kind of are there festering, like the simmering violence of the kids or the murky swimming pool that nobody appears interested in draining and cleaning), and that adds to that sense of inescapable ennui and dissolute incestuous hothouse atmosphere that permeates everything. It could be close to Tennessee Williams-esque except with the melodramatic emotions exchanged for a kind of exhausted, distanced approach.

I don't think it had fully dawned on me before this third or fourth re-watching however just how devastating and bleak the film is, especially in its final section which is almost Robert Altman-esque in using a shared tragedy to impact on our family of extended characters. Although interestingly the tragedy isn't the most unsettling element of the final section. I really liked the booklet essay by David Oubiña and it does a great job of sketching in the ensemble plotting. I particularly liked the comment that both of the main female characters, Mecha and Tali, are comprehensively betrayed by their husbands and that the manner in which they are betrayed, or belittled is done in diametrically opposed ways of either complete passivity or being too controlling, but ways that have the strangely similar result of undermining both women's hopes for the future, which traps them both in their current situations of stasis.

Yet the essay does seem to miss the significant role played by the Indian maid Isabel, whose relationship with Perro is beautifully wordlessly sketched in, almost entirely through the eyes of one of Mecha's daughters Momi (who has a kind of crush on her sort-of nanny). Any sense that coming from a different culture might let the woman escape from a kind of male oppression is itself crushed in the most devastatingly, classically mundane manner in Isabel's obvious unplanned pregnancy. (This is perhaps the key aspect of both Isabel and Perro's characters beyond just the class and race tension issues that are more obviously highlighted during their sections of the film)

Yet just when the film seems all about women being betrayed by feckless males, we get the relationship of José and Mercedes in which Mercedes (who only appears in the Buenos Aires bookending sequences before José leaves to stay with Mecha and after he returns) is obviously the dominant partner, running the business in José's absence and getting on with life while José is left trapped in bed (José is always trapped in bed in this film, perhaps as much as his mother is!) in their final scene. Perhaps as a member of a go-getting entrepreneurial, urban generation Mercedes is past looking for a man to provide for her, or even a for a breadwinner or loving father to their children (perhaps she learnt her lesson from her, heavily implied, affair with Mecha's husband Gregorio? A plot element which resonates hugely with Martel's later film The Headless Woman). Instead José in their final scene, and after being such a cocksman (or frankly just a cock) whilst back in the family home, is left emasculated and similarly trapped at home in his own form of stasis while Mercedes leaves for work.

However to complicate things still further, all of these 'adult generation' couples are being continually contrasted with, and seen through the eyes of, the younger generation, both the young kids and the adolescents. This is where the true tragic core of the film lies as in that final section of the film all of the energy and verve (and even the extremes of life, such as sex, love, violent accidents and death) gets systematically snuffed out, scene after scene. The key tragedy in the final section might be at the heart of this but, as with something like the final tragedy in Robert Altman's Nashville, the event itself is perhaps less important for what has happened but for the way that it throws all of the characters into stark relief in its wake. It feels as if we are seeing the younger generation watching and learning throughout, then in the final scenes they start to become as jaded and detached as their parental generation. This aspect is perhaps made too obvious in the final scene with the girls by the pool paralleling to the opening one in which Mecha had her accident, but this is the kind of film where such brutally blunt relationships of imagery are necessary to the structure.

It is perhaps telling that Momi is the key figure in that very final scene, as she had her 'growing up' moment a little earlier than everyone else with the loss of Isabel, so she seems to be a little further on in the grieving cycle. I did have a debate with myself on whether I would dare to put this onto my Faith Film list, particularly for her bluntly matter of fact final line spoken with her back to the camera, which is the perfect way to end a film that is about illusions shattered, horrible truths learnt but without a sense of catharsis gained, just an awareness of a kind of devastation or desolation left behind that has to be lived with.

This film grows on me more every time that I see it. It is as complicated and as insightful an ensemble drama in its own way as a film like Yi Yi, with which it shares quite a few thematic similarities, although La ciénaga feels far darker and pessimistic in its outlook and hope for the future compared to Edward Yang's film. But that's why I love it!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#23 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:12 pm

The interview with Lucrecia Martel was great, although it is perhaps as playfully far from the usual straightforward Criterion interview as you could get, whilst at the same time providing almost all of the insights you could want into Martel's development as a filmmaker and preoccupations. I particularly liked that we get clips from some of her very earliest family films (something which reminded me a little of those childhood DIY Spielberg projects) in which her brothers and sisters act in a kind of western with bad guys, good guys, shoot outs, horses, fight scenes and saving the girl! It is not only fun to see the clips but it also reminded me of all of the scenes of kids casually playing (dangerous, with consequences) games in her features, only this is real childhood playing around.

There's also a very funny section that is almost Godardian in its use of dogs and water to illustrate a point about 3D (only with the real dogs replaced with a toy Dalmatian stuck on the inside of a water filled tank, with the water level used as the 'cinema screen') and the way that 3D imagery is perhaps unnecessary when you already have 3D space through a carefully composed soundscape.

The interview with Andrés di Tella is in Criterion's usual style and is a fantastic piece that does what any academic supplement should do: situates the film within its cultural and historical climate. The interview especially brought out the political dimension to Martel's film which had passed me by!

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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#24 Post by knives » Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:48 am

Dang Colin. You left very little to say. Just in terms of tone though this has me very curious if Martel has done or would ever do a fairly straight horror as even here with domestic drudgery she visually provides a tension of possibilities that won't let up and even manages an old school awe in a few moments such as the opening or the dead cow. The main pleasure for me though is how different a presentation of Argentinian culture this provides. I'm so used to a, for lack of better words, francophone engagement and while that is here to an extent the film is also nakedly American playing up imagery of natives, Christ, green, and machismo. The framing phone call sequences almost come as a shock for Argentinian cinema for the keen ear Martel displays with regards to familiar taboo and how they have to begrudgingly treat Mecha. Even the sets play this up with an uncomfortable dirtiness that betrays the upper class pretenses.

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domino harvey
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Re: 743 La ciénaga

#25 Post by domino harvey » Wed May 18, 2016 11:34 pm

I found it interesting that the children in the film tell a variation of the well-known American Urban Legend "the Mexican Pet," only in this environ it's become a story about an "African dog rat." Though the function of the story remains the same-- xenophobia allows audiences to believe giant rats could be wandering around to be mistaken for dogs in a country perceived to be dangerously exotic / filthy etc.

If you aren't familiar with the original urban legend, this is probably one of the most well-known versions given its inclusion in the popular books of folklore compiled by Alvin Schwartz

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