The Holy Girl

Rated R 2005

"Good vibrations" from a theremin concert and a swimming pool railing take on a religious, sexually enigmatic quality in this drama from Argentina's Lucrecia Martel (La Cienaga). Amalia, a teenager living in her family's decrepit resort hotel, is groped by a fortyish visiting doctor during the street concert. Stimulated by her sexually experienced friend and her own increasingly feverish religiosity, the sullen girl makes "saving" the doctor her avocation, while her attractive mother resists the temptation to seduce him herself. Martel's tendency to eschew wide or establishing shots leaves her camera hovering at the backs of her characters' necks or reclining next to them, evoking an intimacy that blends sensuality with the nearness of the divine. Half-heard murmurings and girlish gossip, as well as preparations for a physicians' conference demonstration, build tension toward imminent social doom in this story of the sacred and corrupting implications of the laying on of hands.

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The Holy Girl

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