In the Realm of PN1997

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Holy Girl

The Holy Girl is a disturbing film set in Argentina about a teenage girl, Amalia (Maria Alche), caught between her spirituality and budding sexuality. Director Lucrecia Martel (La Cienaga)uses close-ups to convey an intimacy not often seen in film. Often, the close-ups cut off the focal character's face to haunting effect.

What is particularly unsettling about this film is that the religion being taught to the teenagers is one based more or superstition than on scripture. The students share stories about the miraculous ways people are given their vocations. They are taught they need to "save and be saved."

Amalia finds her vocation in trying to save the soul of the man who frotteurizes her. This Dr. Jano (Carlos Belloso) is staying in the same hotel where Amalia and her mother, Helena (Mercedes Moran) are living. Helena meets and falls for Dr. Jano. The film creates a great deal of tension with effective use of dramatic irony. The viewer knows that Amalia's attacker and Dr. Jano are the same man, but neither Amalia nor her mother realize the connection.

Many aspects of the film are unsettling: from the frequent use of Theremin music to the phone call that Helena refuses to take. Many of the questions the film raises remain unanswered by film's end, but not necessarily in a bad way. The disturbing tone is consistent throughout and the lack of solid answers leaves the viewer intellectually curious and emotionally satisfied.

My initial reaction was to rate this film "very good," but the more I think about it, the more I like it. Given another chance, I most likely would have rated it "excellent."


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1 Comments:

  • You and I saw "Purple Rain" together which you also thought was "very good."

    I had to look up the word "frotteurizes."

    Are any of these films available for rent or purchase? We have an obscure/international video store here. Do you think these films could be found there?

    By Blogger PM3, at 4:23 AM  

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