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HOLY GIRL, THE

Argentina, 2004 (MIFF 2004, FedEx International Panorama)

Director: Lucrecia Martel

The Holy Girl (La Niña Santa) Argentina

In Official Competition at Cannes this year, The Holy Girl is a potent tale of sexual awakening and religious guilt, set in a small, claustrophobic Argentine town.

16-year-old Amalia, like many girls her age, is questioning her religious beliefs. After choir rehearsals she chats with her best friend Josefina about faith, vocation and, in secret whispers, kissing. Amalia lives in a run-down hotel operated by her divorcee mother, Helena, confined like a goldfish endlessly circling in its bowl.

A medical convention brings the reserved Dr. Jano and his lascivious colleagues to the hotel and, away from his wife and children, Dr. Jano finds himself free to indulge his sexual appetite. While passing a group of onlookers watching street performers, the doctor presses himself up against a young girl, who turns out to be Amalia. Taking this as a religious sign to embark on a vocation, Amalia becomes obsessed with trying to 'save' Dr. Jano's soul. Meanwhile the doctor, attracted to Helena, but morally torn because of his own marriage, finds himself entangled in desire and misunderstanding.

D/S Lucrecia Martel P Lita Stanic WS HBO Films London L Spanish w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/2004/106mins

Lucrecia Martel was born in Salta, Argentina in 1966. Films include: The Swamp (2001).

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