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'The Headless Woman' Director Lucrecia Martel To Return With 'Zama'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist September 11, 2012 at 10:00AM

We might start writing about long-absent directors more often. In the three months since we picked out five foreign-language filmmakers who've been M.I.A. for several years, three of them have resurfaced in a big way. Arnaud Desplechin ("A Christmas Tale") is shooting "Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian" with Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amalric in Detroit, and "Pulse" helmer Kiyoshi Kurosawa aired his TV epic "Penance" in Venice before announcing plans only yesterday to make historical epic "1905" with Tony Leung.
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Lucretia Martel

We might start writing about long-absent directors more often. In the three months since we picked out five foreign-language filmmakers who've been M.I.A. for several years, three of them have resurfaced in a big way. Arnaud Desplechin ("A Christmas Tale") is shooting "Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian" with Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amalric in Detroit, and "Pulse" helmer Kiyoshi Kurosawa aired his TV epic "Penance" in Venice before announcing plans only yesterday to make historical epic "1905" with Tony Leung.

And now a third has joined them, in the shape of Lucrecia Martel. The Argentinean filmmaker, whose disturbing, distinctive work including "The Holy Girl" and "La Cienaga" has won her fans all over the world, but she's been absent from screens since 2008's awesome "The Headless Woman" played Cannes, bar a short film funded by Miu Miu that just played Venice. The director spent several years working on a sci-fi comic book adaptation called "El Eternauta," but the age-old creative differences intervened, and word had been very quiet since 2009.

Fortunately, it looks like we might get something new from the director soon, as The Hollywood Reporter reveal that the director is now attached to an adaptation of fellow Argentine Antonio di Benedetto's 1956 novel "Zama." Set in an unnamed Latin American country in 1790, the period drama follows Don Diego de Zama, an official for the Spanish crown on his way to Buenos Aires. The book is regarded as something of a classic in the country.

Producer Lita Stantic admits that the period setting means it'll be an expensive and ambitious project, probably Martel's boldest endeavor yet. But El Deseo, Pedro Almodovar's production company, have come on board to produce the project (they were also behind "The Holy Girl" and "The Headless Woman"), and French and English financiers are also being sought, with the intention of shooting in July 2013. Pieces need to fall into place before it becomes a certainty, but fingers crossed, could we see Martel's fourth feature at Cannes in 2014?

This article is related to: Lucrecia Martel, Pedro Almodóvar, Zama


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