A Family Submerged. 2018. Argentina/Norway/Germany/Brazil. Directed by María Alché. Spanish with English subtitles. 91 min.
Best known for her mesmerizingly obsessive performance in Lucrecia Martel’s The Holy Girl, the Argentine writer-director-photographer María Alché proves with A Family Submerged that she’s also a talent to reckon with behind the camera. Her debut film evokes the interior life of a middle-aged wife and mother of three (Mercedes Moran) who’s set adrift by the death of her sister. Though there are shades of Martel in Alché’s disorienting use of sound and fragmented narrative, the film’s hallucinatory mood and dreamlike interweaving of memory and experience are entirely her own. The passage of light itself—whether gently filtered through curtains or nakedly harsh—plays a central role in the family drama; in this, Alché benefited from the great cinematographer Hélène Louvart, who has also helped realize the visions of such auteurs as Agnès Varda, Wim Wenders, and Claire Denis. A Monument Releasing release. New York Premiere