TABLE OF CONTENTS

IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES

Lucrecia Martel, La ciénaga, 2001, 35 mm, color, sound, 103 minutes.

GÉRARD DE LAIRESSE’S 1668 painting Allegory of the Five Senses arrays a quintet of emblematic figures in a Baroque setting full of statuary, arcades, and flora to represent the faculties of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. The Argentine auteur Lucrecia Martel might find much to admire in the tableau, since many aspects of it accord with her own art: the painting’s sense of fleshiness and abundance (the director’s corporeal frames exemplify her aesthetic of profusion); its attention to varieties of hair (a marked Martel motif, along with teeth); and its inclusion of a half-hidden monkey, hunkered at the picture’s right (Martel’s bestiary extends from hunting dogs to aggressive turtles and inquisitive llamas). The composition’s metaphoric “ages of woman” continuum, which ranges from infancy to childhood to maturity, also concurs with Martel’s approach. The films in her

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