The latest film by Lucrecia Martel (La Ciénaga, The Holy Girl, The Headless Woman), based on a novel by Antonio Di Benedetto, is dedicated to, as the eminent Argentinean writer and journalist Martin Caparrós (the author of Hunger) expressed it, "the victims of expectations." Zama, residing on the outskirts of a Spanish colony. He is constantly waiting to be promoted, transferred or simply noticed, for an opportunity to prove himself to far-off authorities. In looking out for the future, he doesn't see value in the present, in what's right next to him. He is a prisoner of the office he holds, constantly tethered to rituals and forms, defining himself by his social position. The tropical heat and moisture quickly dissolve those forms, however, ridiculing the supposed robustness of the colonial powers, exposing the emptiness of rituals brought from Europe, which are simply grotesque there. The more desperately the protagonist clings to his rigid identities as an official, a colonizer, a proud white man, the more frustration and humiliation he encounters: his transfer request is refused, he's rejected by a woman, his salary is misplaced, getting stuck somewhere in transit. By setting her story in a cultural borderland, where the representatives of the Spanish crown are forced into uncertain coexistence with the indigenous people from those lands, Martel gives Zama a chance for transformation and liberation- chance that comes with a fall.
Born in 1966, Lucrecia Martel is an Argentinean director, screenwriter and producer and a graduate of La Escuela Nacional de Experimentación y Realización Cinematográfica (ENERC) in Buenos Aires. She is considered one of the co-creators of so-called New Argentinian Cinema. She has been interested in the world of women since the very beginning: their social roles while imprisoned in corsets, their Catholic morality, their entanglement in family and class relationships. Although the period dram Zama moves away from modernity and involves the director's first male protagonist, she continues to focus on her favorite subjects of identity, the place of individuals in society and their addiction to status and position.
2001 Bagno / La Ciénaga
2004 Święta dziewczyna / La niña santa / The Holy Girl
2008 Kobieta bez głowy / La mujer sin cabeza / The Headless Woman