An embittered law student commits a brutal double murder; a family man takes the fall and is forced into a harsh prison sentence; a mother and her two children wander the countryside looking for some kind of redemption.
Under the creative direction of Gael Garcia Bernal, ten award-winning directors tell the story of the high school dropout crisis in Latin America in an anthology of narrative and ... See full summary »
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
A very good and important film because its portrayal of family dysfunction is uncannily symbolic of the malaise affecting Argentine society today.
La Cienaga means "the bog" in Spanish and it seems to symbolize the kind of emotional place where the dysfunctional families in the film exist. People are closely tied to each other mainly by their inability to come out of "the bog." The many disturbing, and even somewhat confusing images and dialogue, succeed well in conveying the oppression, ills, and limitations that plague the lives of the characters. It is a very important film to come out of Argentina. Having grown up in that country and being acquainted with its present social environment, I find this particular portrayal of family problems to be amazingly symbolic of the malaise affecting Argentine society today. In this regard, the absence of any obvious political or ideological reference makes the film even more interesting.
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