The Holy Girl (Lucrecia Martel). 106 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (May 27). For venues and times, see Movies, page 175. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Foreign films sometimes lose something in translation, but I'm betting there are plenty of Argentines and Spaniards as flummoxed as I am by this film, and mystified about how its compelling themes of sin and redemption, religion and sexuality, good and evil could be rendered so painfully dull.
There are adolescents exploring erotic feelings, a middle-aged doctor ( Carlos Belloso ) tempted by a young girl, adulterous threats, and yet all the caffeine in the world won't keep you awake.
Freud would have a field day here. Mother Helena ( Mercedes Moran ) has no problem sitting in her nightie with brother Freddie's head in her lap, allowing him to sleep with her and daughter Amalia ( María Alche ) or dancing provocatively beside her clearly leering nephew.
I get that the movie's trying to be subtle, which is certainly better than using a voice-over narration for dummies, but does writer/director Lucrecia Martel have to be this vague and emotionless to make her point?
Somewhere deep down, I know there's something powerful here and that Martel, backed notably by producer/kinky auteur Pedro Almodóvar , is sure to be at the forefront of newly discovered Argentine talent.
I just didn't get it. But, please, don't cry for me, Argentina.