Visions du Réel will celebrate the great Argentinian filmmaker and screenwriter Lucrecia Martel by giving her an Honorary Award during its 54th edition (April 21–30, 2023). A major figure in contemporary film and a leading name in the New Argentine Cinema, Lucrecia Martel will give a masterclass during the event, which will explore her body of work and her relationship with reality. A retrospective of her films will also be presented during the edition. According to tradition, this tribute is designed with the invaluable collaboration of La Cinémathèque Suisse and ECAL (Lausanne University of Art and Design).

An essay on Lucrecia Martel’s work, written by Dennis Lim for Visions du Réel, is published in the Journal des invité·e·s.

Lucrecia Martel gained international fame with her first feature length film La ciénaga (2001), shot in her home region, and has since embodied the resurgence of Argentinian film, both nationally and internationally. The director’s filmography, which consists of 4 feature length films and 25 titles in total (including different kinds of projects), has constantly made a mark on her country in a post-dictatorial context, as well as at the most prestigious festivals. Lucrecia Martel’s films use a highly sensual cinematographical grammar to examine the existential crisis of the Argentinian middle classes, the inner workings of society and the country’s suffocating social mechanism, as well as post-colonial issues. She achieves all this while relentlessly evoking, implicitly, the history of her country and the ghosts that inhabit it. Her attention to detail – particularly to sound, noise and dialogues – and the kaleidoscopic approach of her work are in keeping with a dual tradition that is both oral and adventurous in cinematographical terms, steeped in a joyous cinephilia. Rooted in the filmmaker’s very familiar territories and experiences, Lucrecia Martel’s body of work borrows from a multitude of genres and offers a rich and fascinating hybridisation of fiction and reality. After Terminal Norte in 2021, she is currently working on new non-fiction feature length film that should be released in 2023.

Visions du Réel is particularly proud and honoured to welcome such a vital, rare and extraordinary figure in contemporary film to the Festival, a filmmaker who, with each of her films, succeeds in translating universes with audacity, in composing an adventurous, troubling and singular body of work, one that constantly challenges global cinema.

A figure of the New Argentine Cinema, Lucrecia Martel was born in Salta in North-Western Argentina. Having studied at Avellaneda Experimental (AVEX) and the National School of Film Experimentation and Production (ENERC) in Buenos Aires, she directed a series of short documentary and fiction films between 1988 and 1994 including the first, already very promising, Rey Muerto, a segment that was part of the feature length film Historias breves (1995). In 2001, her first feature length film, La Ciénaga, the account of a summer during which a family gets bogged down in its problems, won many international prizes – including a Silver Bear (awarded as the Alfred Bauer Prize) at the Berlin Film Festival. This was followed by La niña santa (2004), which recounted an adolescent girl’s indecisiveness between desire and faith and was selected in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, as was the troubling La mujer sin cabeza in 2008, dealing with the confusion of a woman suffocated by a secret and the weight of society. Her fourth feature length film, Zama (2017), exploring colonialism and racism in Latin America, was presented as a world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. In 2019, she was also invited to be the President of the Jury at the prestigious Venice Film Festival.

After a few short and medium length documentary films, Lucrecia Martel made a new, powerful incursion into non-fiction filmmaking in 2021 with Terminal Norte, shot during the pandemic. The film follows a group of women musicians finding refuge during lockdown in the forests and vivid landscapes of Salta, a very conservative region of the country from where the director also hails. The filmmaker gives us an intimate, sensorial and committed project in immersion that powerfully illustrates the symbiosis between these artists, their songs and their stories, and the surrounding lush nature. This project foreshadows her next film, also non-fiction, which is due in 2023.

Alongside her film work, Lucrecia Martel has taken an interest in other artistic disciplines and languages. She has collaborated with Björk, for whom she directed the concert Cornucopia (2019) at the venue The Shed (New York), recognised as the Icelandic artist’s most sophisticated show so far. During lockdown, she produced The Passage (2021), an immersive work presented at the EYE Filmmuseum (Amsterdam). Her work has been screened in the most prestigious artistic and cultural institutions, like Harvard, MoMA, Lincoln Center, Cambridge and Tate London. She has also run a series of masterclasses on sound and narration.

  • Camarera de piso, 2022
  • Terminal norte (North Terminal), 2021
  • Al, 2019
  • Julieta Laso: Fantasmas, 2018
  • Zama, 2017
  • El aula vacía, (short: Leguas), 2015
  • Muta, 2011
  • Pescados, 2010
  • Nueva argirópolis (New Argirópolis), 2010
  • 25 miradas, 200 minutos, 2010
  • La mujer sin cabeza (The Headless Woman), 2008
  • La ciudad que huye, 2006
  • La niña santa (The Holy Girl), 2004
  • La ciénaga, 2001
  • Las dependencias, 1999
  • Historias breves, (short: Rey muerte (Dead King)), 1995
  • D.N.I., 1995
  • Magazine for Fai, 1995
  • Besos rojos, 1991
  • La otra, 1989
  • Piso 24, 1989
  • No te la llevarás maldito, 1989
  • El 56, 1988

Selection 2023