The Holy Girl
(La niña santa)
BAMPFA Student Committee Pick!
Mercedes Morán, Carlos Belloso, María Alché, Alejandro Urdapilleta,
“God sends us signs, that’s what matters,” notes a church choir teacher to her charges in Martel’s hallucinatory look at religious devotion and sexual awakening in small-town Argentina. The Holy Girl locks down its blend of Lolita obsessions and Catholic repressions with delirious visual and aural flair: the probing camera hovers barely inches away from the characters, seemingly guarding them from any potential sin, while the soundtrack echoes with a satanic litany of half-heard conversations, overlapping sounds, and odd industrial noises. “The Holy Girl is a film that defies categorization,” wrote A. O. Scott of the New York Times. “But I’m tempted to call it a miracle.”