The Headless Woman: Where is your soul at?

The Headless Woman is seeped in the silences and claustrophobia.

Lucrecia Martel‘s classic tale of a woman with an intriguing condition seems to reach new heights in genre definition. This film at times feels like hideous suspense. It leaves our eyes surveying a crash with no avail. There is very little provided for us to invest in this film. If we look at the surface of the film it is like a family reunion. But this family is your average Argentinean family that is faced with surrounding prejudices. These prejudices are left in the background. The societies have not come to terms with it.

The film begins with a family getting ready for a trip. But each of the members has their selfish intentions. There is a girl who is probably not getting treated for her possible jaundice. A mother who is a little too suspicious of her daughter’s sexual orientation and also a love triangle that seems to aid in the elliptical nature of the plot. But at the center of all this is the woman in question. What has she done? What is the mis-en-scene they are all talking about? These are some of the small concerns in the director’s head. But her main aim is to distance ourselves as much as possible from the suspense.

The alienation of the central core of the story is what we need to take notice of. The class struggle, infidelity, corruption and decay of a society torn by a singular incident are the issues that director wants to take up. But for those of you who are familiar with such alienation in works like Memories of a Murder are certainly in for a surprise. Lucrecia takes huge strides in this genre simplification with the use of a claustrophobic lens and a phenomenal performance Maria Onetto. She sort of deforms the character to a certain lifeless existence. It almost feels like there is a spiritual snow flake floating on the screen. Even the repelling shots of the dead dog don’t deter her transformed existence. Vero is not dead but she has become cold like an internal intoxication. We are left with a woman who seems to have lost her soul to the incident.

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It also heralds a challenging affirmation of the director’s unique eye. Her last film The Holy Girl was also brooding with this uncertainty. But over here she leaves her shackles and goes all out in understanding this soulless woman. But it is only in the end various strands of the plot keep coming and haunting us. It is in revealing so little that she has given the audience to think for themselves. That is an achievement in this film’s uncanny voice.


John has a keen sense of what ticks in the world of film. He can also be seen in three distinct short film titled Woken Shell, The Tea Shop in the Moon and The Waiting. Cinema has been the basic diet he has been on for the last 10 years. His personality can be judged by the choices of his films.


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