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Heat of the Moment: La Ciénaga (12A)

young people sunbathing

A bourgeois extended family converge on the crumbling family estate over one hot, sticky summer.

At the centre of La Cienaga is a terrible brackish swimming pool, full of murky green water and assorted debris. The teenage children come and go, but the parents are a permanent fixture, sitting around it quietly getting soused. 

Ice cubes tinkle in a glass. Cicadas chirp. A chair is dragged across the patio. There is thunder. Against a background of oppressive humidity, small events accumulate leaving us with the dread feeling that it can only be so long before someone gets hurt. 

A film that, in the words of the New York Times, “perspires from the screen”, this first feature by Argentine director Lucretia Martel (The Headless Woman) is one of the great contemporary debuts

Argentina/France/Spain/Japan 2001 Dir Lucrecia Martel 100 min 35 mm presentation

Screens with: Melting (US 1965 Dir Thom Andersen 6 min) a short film, from the director of Los Angeles Plays Itself, showing the disintegration of a strawberry sundae. 

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Barbican Cinema 3