THE SWAMP (LA CIÉNAGA) BY LUCRECIA MARTEL: A VIDEOESSAY

This entry was posted on March 19th, 2017

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By Monica Delgado

With La Ciénaga (2001)Lucrecia Martel made her debut into feature films, and did so with clear and rational structure that looks to reflect the signs of decadence of a social class, with characters that spend summer in an Argentinian northern rural zone estate. Beyond raising the question of how a determined social stratum in Argentina becomes reflected in this film, I’m interested in finding out some motives about the idea of family that La Ciénaga suggests.

The nuclear family that Martel proposes is, before anything, a broken feminine arcade, that resists its ghetto and has the necessity of articulating its desires towards some “unfinished” masculine characters, men that serve their role halfway, among a familiar quotidian place: An almost absent husband, that barely interacts with his daughters and is questioned for painting his hair to hide his old age; a visitant brother with an older couple who seems to be an alter ego or nemesis of the figure of the mother, who lies in bed due to a home accident, and a town person who has the role of solely get the housemaid pregnant.

In this video I’m proposing an essential analogy to comprehend the emotional structure of family, around a son who goes in and out of the maternal shelter, a subject not presented as an oedipal issue but as kind of a dependency that is always looking to be replicated to survive. The surroundings of the mother are unrepeatable.

The Swamp (La Ciénaga): a videoessay from Monica Delgado on Vimeo.