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The cinema of Lucrecia Martel$
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Deborah Martin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719090349

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719090349.001.0001

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La niña santa: horror, ambivalence, femininity

La niña santa: horror, ambivalence, femininity

Chapter:
(p.54) 2 La niña santa: horror, ambivalence, femininity
Source:
The cinema of Lucrecia Martel
Author(s):

Deborah Martin

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719090349.003.0003

Chapter 2 focuses on Martel’s second feature, La niña santa, a film which depicts the anxious construction of hard-and-fast boundaries between right and wrong, good and evil, beauty and horror, whilst revelling in the strangeness of a world in which everything – including its saintly-demonic heroine, and the moral and affective situations she negotiates, confounds these distinctions. In La niña santa, it is in particular the ideological conditions established by Catholicism – and their close relationship with constructions of femininity – which are subject to the scrutiny of Martel’s investigative gaze. The girls in this film suggest the possibility of resisting dominant narratives, a possibility with which the film is thematically and aesthetically engaged in multiple ways. The chapter explores the film’s aesthetic experiments alongside its foregrounding of the productive capacity of desire, arguing that both function to suggest ideological fissure and the glimpsing of alternative realities. Through its figuring of desire, and the female adolescent as agent of her desire, the film suggests the possibility of resistance to the subjective and identitarian roles and models into which she is socially summoned.

Keywords:   Desire, Feminine adolescence, Uncanny, Interpellation, Mother-daughter relationship, Touch

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