Zama (2017 film)

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Zama (2017 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLucrecia Martel
Written byLucrecia Martel
Based onZama
by Antonio di Benedetto
CinematographyRui Poças
Edited by
  • Miguel Schverdfinger
  • Karen Harley
  • Bananeira Filmes
  • Rei Cine
Distributed by
Release date
  • 31 August 2017 (2017-08-31) (Venice)
  • 28 September 2017 (2017-09-28) (Argentina)
Running time
115 minutes
Box office$371,502 (Argentina)[1]

Zama is a 2017 Argentine period drama film directed by Lucrecia Martel, based on the 1956 novel of the same name by Antonio di Benedetto.[2] It premiered at the 74th Venice International Film Festival.[3] It was also screened in the Masters section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[4] On 29 September 2017, the Argentine Academy of Cinematography Arts and Sciences chose the film as the national entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards and Best Iberoamerican Film at the 32nd Goya Awards.[5][6]


In the late 18th century in a remote South American colony, corregidor Zama's situation deteriorates as he longs for a better assignment from the Spanish Empire.



The film had a slow production process with director Lucrecia Martel first announcing her attachment to the film in 2012.[7] The film was rumoured to begin filming by 2014, but a still was released in May of 2015 shortly after filming actually began.[8] The film then spent two years in post-production after Martel learned she had cancer and she struggled to maintain her health and complete the film.[9]


Zama received widespread acclaim from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 95% based on 85 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3/10. The website's critical consensus states, "Zama offers a series of scathingly insightful observations about colonialism and class dynamics — and satisfyingly ends a long wait between projects from writer-director Lucrecia Martel."[10] Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 88 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[11] Following its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, The A.V. Club's A.A. Dowd gave the film a B+ grade and wrote: "Zama, despite its setting, isn’t such a radical departure for Martel; it preserves her talent for tracking an individual through chaotic social spheres".[12]

Upon its theatrical release, Zama received universal acclaim from the Argentine press. On the Argentine website Todas Las Críticas, which collects local reviews, the film has an average rating of 82 out of 100 and an approval rating of 88%, based on 41 reviews.[13] Luciano Monteagudo of Página/12 praised Martel's direction and considered Zama to be "a new peak in her work, a film with a visual and sound complexity that is out of the norm in contemporary cinema, capable of breaking with narrative linearity to go in search of a colonial past that can only be imagined in a fragmentary way, as one who explores his identity in the remnants of what is called History."[14] An enthusiastic review came from Clarín's Pablo O. Scholz, who called it "an invitation to the senses, a film that floods, overflows in more than one meaning" and a "captivating experience."[15] Writing for La Nación, María Fernanda Mugica stated that Zama was "work of art that requires an attentive, patient and open viewer", feeling that "it is admired since the first shot but it begins to be better appreciated later, when the fascination for the beauty of the images and the intensity of the sounds leave room in the viewer for a connection with the frustration experienced by its protagonist".[16] Writing for Otros Cines, Diego Batlle gave the film the highest rating and compared it to the work of Terrence Malick, Werner Herzog, John Ford and Claire Denis, while stating: "but Martel's cinema is unique, non-transferable, inimitable, incomparable."[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Zama". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  2. ^ Hopewell, John (20 May 2015). "Cannes: Lucrecia Martel Rolls on 'Zama'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Lucretia Martel - Zama". La Biennale di Venezia. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  4. ^ Pond, Steve (15 August 2017). "Aaron Sorkin, Brie Larson, Louis CK Movies Added to Toronto Film Festival Lineup". TheWrap. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  5. ^ ""Zama", a los Oscar". Página/12 (in Spanish). Editorial La Página S.A. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  6. ^ Mango, Agustin (29 September 2017). "Oscars: Argentina Selects 'Zama' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  7. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin. "First Look At Lucrecia Martel's 'Zama' As Production Begins". Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  8. ^ Hopewell, John. "Cannes: Lucrecia Martel Rolls on 'Zama' (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  9. ^ Kohn, Eric. "How Pedro Almódovar Pushed Argentina's Greatest Filmmaker to Make Her Best Movie Ever". Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Zama (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Zama Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  12. ^ Dowd, A.A. (12 September 2017). "Jake Gyllenhaal's Boston Marathon bombing film isn't too bad, and other surprises at Toronto". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Zama - Críticas". Todas Las Críticas (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  14. ^ Monteagudo, Luciano (28 September 2017). "Exiliado en su subjetividad". Página/12 (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  15. ^ Scholz, Pablo O. (27 September 2017). ""Zama": Sí, es cautivante". Clarín (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  16. ^ Mugica, María Fernanda (28 September 2017). "Zama: una obra de arte que recompensa con creces al espectador". La Nación (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  17. ^ Batlle, Diego (25 September 2017). "Crítica de "Zama" + Entrevista a Lucrecia Martel". Otros Cines (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 October 2017.

Further reading[edit]

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