La niña santa

  • 99'
  • Argentina
  • 2004

Occasionally one comes across recalcitrant masterpieces that really have to be seen more than once. One such film is Martel's second feature, once again situated in the provincial town La Ciénaga (the marsh). That's where the teenage girl Amalia lives, played by a mysterious blushing Alché, whose respectable Catholic upbringing and education will somehow have to be reconciled with her budding sexuality. Her best friend Josefina has the same desires, ones they can only talk about in whispers. Amalia's mother Helena is the owner of a classic, slightly dilapidated hotel where a congress of doctors is taking place.

Helena is interested in the 40-year-old Doctor Jano, but he has already set in motion an unstoppable chain of events by surreptitiously feeling up a teenage girl on the street: Amalia. Amalia does not react as you would think and feels an urge to save Dr Jano's soul. In the meantime, we do have to keep our eyes open. Martel often only shows part of the characters in the frame, while at the same time not all the details of their mutual relationships are immediately clear. Occasionally there are unemphatically comical, unexplainable events, or ones that are not explained for a long time. The 'main story' looks as if it will end in a tragic denouement, but the ending is also surprising and leaves the spectator in delighted or upset confusion about the nature of the emotions - just like the characters themselves.

Lucrecia Martel
Countries of production
Argentina, Spain, Italy
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2005
International title
The Holy Girl
Lita Stantic Producciones S.A.
Lita Stantic Producciones S.A.
Lucrecia Martel
María Alché
Local Distributor