Locarno: Lucrecia Martel’s Work-in-Progress Caps an Unusual Career

The news that Lucrecia Martel was working on a new feature film — less than three years after premiering 2017’s “Zama” — was excitedly received by world cinema buffs: nine long years had separated “Zama” and her previous feature, “The Headless Woman,” and admirers of the enigmatic Argentine auteur had no reason to expect a suddenly increased work rate.“Zama,” after all, was a film that reflected its lengthy gestation and repeated delays in its hypnotic style.

A scathing post-colonial portrait of a Spanish magistrate in a remote South American colony, spiraling into madness as he awaits a reassignment that never seems to come, the film’s feverish, intoxicated atmospherics bespoke a filmmaker fully immersed and entangled in her own creative process: the type of cinema Lucrecia Martel makes is not conceived, much less made, overnight.Perhaps, then, Marcel will take the pandemic-induced limbo in which the film industry finds itself more in her stride than most.

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