Directed by Lucretia Martel
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“Surreal ambiguity, Kafaesque bureaucratic farce and mysterious nature are intoxicating.” —David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
Argentinean auteur Lucrecia Martel’s (The Holy Girl, The Headless Woman) first feature film in nine years charts the steady unraveling of an officer of the Spanish crown in 18th-century South America. He’s stationed in an area where the indigenous and colonial cultures in Latin America were experiencing an uneasy co-existence.
Based on the novel by Antonio di Benedetto written in 1956, the film follows Don Diego de Zama, who awaits his transfer to Lerma. The bureaucracy of the time strands him in limbo separated from his family in the outpost. Each request to improve his situation leads to a new level of humiliation compounding his resolve to leave the area.
He finds himself downsized in a way that reduces his access to creature comforts as well as status until he finds a way to potentially redeem himself. The stakes are incredibly risky as he ventures into the unknown.
A selection of the Venice, Toronto and New York film festivals. 2017, Argentina, DCP, in Spanish with English subtitles, 115 minutes. Recommended for 16+.