The Headless Woman

Director: Lucrecia Martel
Year Released: 2008
Rating: 3.5

If the title sounds like this is a horror film, that's because that's what it is: a living nightmare (except without the 'boo!' moments). After hitting some object in the road - a dog? a person? - a blonde woman (who 'we,' the 'audience,' know nothing about) suffers head trauma (of some sort) and then proceeds through her life, except she doesn't know what's going on or who she is … and, shockingly, no one inside the movie is really aware of her lack of awareness. The question for the rest of the picture - among other things - is whether or not she regains consciousness, and if so when (I've read three different people give three different, perfectly acceptable explanations). Why is she crying, out of guilt or fear? What is her relationship with Inés Efron (from the movie XXY)? The 'game' Martel is playing - "Spot the Significance!" - is admittedly coy, and expecting definite answers from this will lead to utter frustration (let's just say that everything at the end is still debatable), so it's probably best to think of it as an open-ended poem about human nature and identity. With movies going soft and serving the audience everything on baby-sized teaspoons (and making airplane noises while doing so), here's someone still experimenting with form and content, and making that experiment amount to something indefinite and unsettling (and also something of a shock to me, as I hated The Holy Girl).