The Headless Woman

La mujer sin cabeza

In the opening sequence of the film that completes Lucretia Martel’s “Salta Trilogy” – a triad dedicated to the town in Argentina where the director grew up, films committed to a merciless critique of the bourgeoisie for its role in writing off crimes of the past – we immediately bear witness to a horrifying hit-and-run. We know who did it: the driver is a white, blonde, patently wealthy woman, a doppelgänger of the stage actor Myrtle Gordon (played by Gena Rowlands in Opening Night) who was herself tormented by the memory of a fan being run over by her chauffeur after a great performance. But who is the abandoned victim here? A dog? Or is it a child of the indigenous community? As our heroine begins to lose her grip on reality, despite the desperate attempts made by those in her circle to console her by diminishing the scale of the catastrophe, the masterful framing and ambiguous editing make one thing clear: once it is certain that the rain will wash away all trace of the perpetrators and that a reckoning with the ghosts of colonialism will end up but an act, a performance for the show, then white guilt is nothing but another manifestation of white privilege.
Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Lucrecia Martel
Script: Lucrecia Martel
Cinematography: Bárbara Álvarez
Editing: Miguel Schverdfinger
Sound: Guido Berenblum
Music: Roberta Ainstein
Actors: María Onetto, Claudia Cantero, Inés Efron, César Bordón, Daniel Genoud, Guillermo Arengo
Production: Aquafilms, Slotmachine, El Deseo, Teodora Films, R&C Produzioni
Producers: Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar, Esther García, Verónica Cura, Enrique Piñeyro, Lucrecia Martel, Marianne Slot, Vieri Razzini, Cesare Petrillo, Tilde Corsi
Costumes: Julio Suárez
Production Design: María Eugenia Sueiro
Executive producer: Verónica Cura
Format: ProRes
Color: Color
Production Country: Argentina, France, Italy, Spain
Production Year: 2008
Duration: 89'
Contact: Rei Cine
Awards/Distinctions: Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay – Argentine Academy of Cinematography Arts and Sciences Awards 2008, FIPRESCI Award – Rio de Janeiro IFF 2008, Best Actress - Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards 2009, Critics Award – Lima Latin American FF 2008, Best Actress – ACE Awards 2010

Lucrecia Martel

Lucrecia Martel (1966) is an Argentine film director, screenwriter, and producer often associated with the New Argentine Cinema movement alongside directors Pablo Trapero, Martín Rejtman, and Lisandro Alonso. She was born in Salta in northern Argentina and settled in Buenos Aires. In 1988 she enrolled at the Escuela Nacional de Experimentación y Realización Cinematográfica (ENERC), but her education was cut short due to lack of funds. Largely self-taught, Martel began her career directing short films between 1988 and 1995, one of which, Rey muerto (Dead King, 1995), won a series of awards on the international film festival circuit. Martel is best known for her three features, La ciénaga (The Swamp, 2001), La niña santa (The Holy Girl, 2004) and La mujer sin cabeza (The Headless Woman, 2008), all of which were filmed in the region around Salta. Period drama Zama (2017), her fourth feature, based on the 1956 novel of the same name by Antonio di Benedetto, premiered in Venice to widespread acclaim. In 2006, Martel was a member of the Cannes Film Festival Feature Films Jury. She has won awards for her films at many major festivals, including the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, the 2001 Berlin International Film Festival, and the 2008 Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.


1988 The 56 (short)
1991 Red Kisses (short)
2001 The Swamp
2004 The Holy Girl
2008 The Headless Woman
2010 Fishes (short)
2011 Mutate (short)
2017 Zama