La ciénaga

(The Swamp)

  • Introduction

    Natalia Brizuela is an associate professor of modern and contemporary Latin American literature and culture in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Berkeley.


Graciela Borges, Mercedes Morán, Martín Adjemián, Daniel Valenzuela,

The first film in Martel’s award-winning Salta trilogy is an elliptical portrayal of social inertia, class, and race, revolving around a fetid swimming pool (the eponymous swamp) during summer vacation. An extended family orbits the polluted water and adjacent interiors. Napping, playing, and hunting, the children amuse themselves; the narcissistic adults, incapacitated by ennui and alcohol, tend to their own emotional and physical wounds. The servants tolerate the racist slurs, threats of dismissal, and inappropriate affections of the household. Redolent of decay, the ominous atmosphere is sustained through an immersive soundtrack, distant thunder portending more than just rain. 

  • Lucrecia Martel
  • Hugo Colace
  • Spanish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • 35mm
  • 101 mins
  • Janus Films