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Chekhov in contemporary Argentina. Mecha and Gregorio are at their rundown country place near La Ciénaga with their teen children. It's hot. The adults drink constantly; Mecha cuts herself, engendering a trip to the hospital and a visit from her son José. A cousin, Tali, brings her children. The kids are on their own, sunbathing by the filthy pool, dancing in town, running in the hills with shotguns, driving cars without licenses. One of the teen girls loves Isabel, a family servant constantly accused of stealing. Mother and son, son and sisters, teen and Isabel are in each other's beds and bathrooms with a creepy intimacy. With no adults paying attention, who's at risk? Written by
Argentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel wrote and directed this impressively rich and atmospheric look at moral dissipation among Argentina's upper classes. Set in northwestern Argentina, on a dilapidated country estate, the movie chronicles the quotidian malaise of an Argentine family, their cousins, servants, and the nearby town.
Lushly and patiently filmed, the story follows the elder adults as they drink themselves into a stupor alongside their decrepit pool while their children cavort through the gloomy rooms of the country manor, killing off the idle hours of their summer holiday. Ignored by their parents, who are anxious to drown their own withered and broken relationships in alcohol, the children drive without licenses, race through the forest with shotguns, drink and dance at town parties.
Martel's effortless style captures the aimlessness of their lives and casts an especially harsh light on the conflicted relationship between a small moneyed population with European ancestry and the indigent servant class of indigenous locals. The movie's languorous pace beautifully matches the hot and muggy atmosphere that lays like a blanket over the estate and its bored inhabitants...
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