Extra Ordinary
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Extra Ordinary

Extra Ordinary don Diego de Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho) stands on the beach in the opening shot of Zama with a preening Extra Ordinary air of authority. Wearing a tri-corner hat and clutching a ceremonial sword, he casts a look down at the lapping waves as if pondering whether he could even order them to turn back. But there’s a frayed quality to the scene. Zama’s regalia looks faded and droopy, his brow is sweaty, and the beach he’s on is quiet and serene. An instrument of the Spanish crown in a remote South American colony, he is less the master of all he surveys and more a useless relic propped up on a forgotten shore.

The Argentine auteur Lucrecia Martel’s first narrative film in nine years, Zama is a warped portrait of colonial power left to rot in the sun, a feverishly funny and surreal experience that mostly turns its nose up at narrative. It’s based on Antonio di Benedetto’s 1956 novel of the same name, but that book tells its story through Zama’s internal monologue, as he schemes to find ways out of the assignment he’s been handed by the Spanish empire. In her adaptation, Martel ditches the monologue, and as a result Zama can come off as intensely abstract. But as a mood piece, it’s extraordinary.

Duration: 94 min

Release:

IMDb: 6.4