Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel on the power of language and reality.

Lucrecia Martel

Martel is undoubtedly the best-known filmmaker of the Argentinian New Wave, with films like THE SWAMP, THE HOLY GIRL and more recently, THE HEADLESS WOMAN, all of which have been lauded at festivals worldwide.

Martel reveals a unique challenge that she faces as a filmmaker in Argentina: “What I find extremely dangerous today is the growing hegemony of the English language in Argentina’s cinematic culture. Some producers have told me to make a film in English because it is more commercially viable. What they don’t understand is that language drives the character – it is an important tool of expression and the finer nuances like the body-language, the subtle interactions and the entire perception will be lost if my characters start speaking English.”

Does that imply she is never going to make a Hollywood film? “No. It doesn’t mean that I am against Hollywood. I admire some of their directors and if the right opportunity presents itself, I may even make a film in English, but my first love lies in Argentina.” When asked what aspects of real life find their way into her films, Martel says, “Quite a lot of psychopathic aspects keep popping up in my work. But reality never stops inspiring me. It is the everyday interactions between people I know that I find exciting. Every single day we are telling stories to each other, and these are about real people and real incidents.” This, Martel says, is also the reason why she generally leaves her films open-ended. “Reality never stops, and I feel film functions similarly. Nobody knows everything about life. This is why films should be left open to multiple interpretations. If there is a solid ending, it won’t remain in the viewer’s memory. A film should reflect reality within the realm of fiction. It should not look like a roller-coaster made by an engineer.”