Few Latin American directors have found the kind of critical adoration that’s greeted Lucrecia Martel. The Argentine director first burst into the scene with La ciénaga (2001), a loose and lucid look at bourgeois life in her native country through the lens of a summer family gathering. Her next two films, La niña santa (2001) and La mujer sin cabeza (2008) went on to compete for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, announcing her as an auteur worth paying attention.
After a much too long of a break, Martel returned with Zama, which she presented at various film festivals last year. The historical epic is set to open in New York City next month and to celebrate, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is putting on an entire retrospective of Martel’s small but nevertheless impressive oeuvre. As they put it in their event description, “A singular artist, Martel combines a formal mastery—particularly through her attention to sound design—with a sensibility entirely her own, defined by atmosphere, mystery, and caustic humor alongside provocative critiques of class and patriarchy in Argentine society.”
Not only will audiences be able to catch all of Martel’s feature films—with intros and/or Q&As with her throughout the retro—but also a new documentary by Manuel Abramovich titled Light Years. Offering a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Zama, the doc is an intimate portrait of the Argentine director. It delves deep into this ambitious production which tells the story of an officer of the Spanish crown in late-18th-century Paraguay seeing his life spiral out of control after he keeps getting passed on for a promotion that would take him out of his dead-end job in this New World. The entire program is a great way to catch up on Martel’s work, one of the great Latin American female filmmakers of her generation.
Lucrecia Martel: A Retrospective runs April 10-15, 2018 and Zama opens April 14, 2018.