The Headless Woman (2008) – It Deepens Like A Coastal Shelf

Do you get on with your family?  Think about it before you answer.  I don’t mean ‘do you squabble?’ or ‘do you talk to your family?’.  I mean do you really get on with them?  I ask because this is quite a common question but, upon reflection, I am not really sure how to answer it.  There are many ways in which you can ‘get on’ with people and not all of them are good.  Ideally, ‘getting on’ with someone would mean accepting them for who they are and being accepted in return.  But the truth is a little bit more complex than that because all too often we play roles.  Maybe we refuse to bring up old grievances with relatives at Christmas is order to ensure that everyone has a nice time.  Maybe we don’t mention that we don’t have a boyfriend because, actually, we prefer girls.  Maybe we let our parents and our families believe things about us that are not true.  Because it makes our lives easier.  Because it makes them happier.  So I ask again : Do you get on with your family?

Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel’s third film La Mujer Sin Cabeza is about a woman who gets on with her family.  She gets on with her family by accepting the role that she has forced upon her and, in return, she is protected.  Protected from the repercussions of her actions.  Protected from herself.  The Headless Woman is a haunting portrayal of a woman who is suddenly estranged from her own life and who comes to realise the true price she pays for the privileged existence she has lead.

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