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The Headless Woman review

A woman is guilt-ridden after a traffic accident - but just what or who did she kill?

Call trading standards! You will not find a headless woman in this movie.

Rather, Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel’s elusive psycho-drama is a mystery – a rich, tantalising thriller where nothing much happens.

Middle-aged dentist Vero (María Onetto) is driving home on the eve of a storm when, distracted for a moment by a phone call, she hits something in the road. In the rear-view mirror we see a dog’s corpse but the tiny handprints on the driver’s window suggest something far worse. Vero drives away, but shame is hard to shake...

Reminiscent of Michael Haneke’s Hidden (although less tense or coherent), The Headless Woman is opaque and ominous; a could-be ghost story of class and responsibility, the domestic as a metaphor for a wider national guilt.

It’s dense and inscrutable, yet Martel’s precise compositions, the partly natural, partly strange dialogue and the intense performances tease, please and demand repeat viewings.

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