La Cíenaga



out of


See IMDB. I would just be copying from there anyway.


This is a movie I never would have seen on my own. Sometimes, it's a good thing to see a film I wouldn't have picked for myself (thus my Talk Cinema tickets). Sometimes, my instincts are right.
A woman totters drunkenly as she refills her wineglass and her husband's and friends' as they all lounge by a stagnant green swimming pool. When she falls, lying in wine and blood, they do not move to help her. This opening scene is the high point of the movie because one still has the expectation that the movie is going somewhere but it is a story that is all middle with no beginning or end.
As there are no plot twists to give away. this synopsis could be construed to contain spoilers.
Beginning of spoilers ...
The woman, Mecha, lives with her husband and family in the housing equivalent of the pool. The house appears large but evidently has only one working bathroom which the family is constantly sharing. After his mother's accident, the eldest son comes home from Rio where he is shacked up with his father's mistress. It is implied, at least to me, that he sleeps with his mother when he comes home, and, possibly, his sister Vera. The other sister, Momi, sleeps with the maid, Isabel, and, possibly, used to sleep with Vera. Another son, Joaquin, has only one good eye. He spends his days shooting and bad mouthing Indians. He accuses Indians of fucking his dog, but in such a way it is pretty clear who has been abusing the animal. The bitch was definitely more wholesome than anyone else in the family.
This is all revealed as Mecha's fairly normal sister, Tali, comes to visit with her kids and frets about buying school supplies. A plan is made to go to Bolivia and buy them on the cheap. This doesn't happen. Mecha buys a mini fridge she sees advertised on the telly to put in her bedroom so her booze will be more convenient. Indians are bad mouthed for not answering the phone and eating shit. Isabel quits. Tali's young son falls off a ladder and, apparently dies. The End.
Throughout there are news items about some water tower at which the Virgin has been seen.
... End of spoilers.
Being an atheist, there might have been an idea in there about religion that I missed. The one I picked up on was that drunken, incestuous, sleazeballs are prejudiced against Indians so it is probably a bad thing to be a drunken, incestuous, sleazeball.
This was 103 minutes of agony. Between the opening and closing accidents nothing happened in the most excrutiating way imaginable. The family constantly fondles each other, except Joaquin who is too busy shooting stuff. The cousins play in the dank pool.
I do have one positive thing to say about the film. While I was always aware I was watching a movie and never drawn into its world, I was absolutely convinced that those people on the screen were the characters they were portraying so the star is for the acting alone.
The script was developed at the Sun Dance Institute then taken to Argentina. I think it should have been left in the institution where it belonged.

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