The Headless Woman (12a)

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The Independent Culture

This cleverly oblique movie hinges upon an incident whose meaning remains enigmatic to the end.

A middle-class Argentinian woman, named Vero (María Onetto), is driving along a lonesome dust road when, distracted for a moment, her car runs something over. At first she thinks it's a dog, and drives on without investigating. Later, however, she is harrowed by the thought that she may have knocked down and killed a young boy. The writer-director Lucrecia Martel very subtly suggests the way that guilt, even when unacknowledged, can spread within a body like a fever, yet the remarkable thing about María Onetto's performance is the absolute impassivity of her face. So how is this done? By the insinuating use of the camera, lurking behind a car head-rest or staring hard at a face in profile, an invisible accuser that refuses to let this woman off the hook.

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