Contemporary World Cinema

A Decent Woman

Lukas Valenta Rinner

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A Buenos Aires cleaning woman enters the strange world of upper-class nudism, in this wry, deadpan satire from Austro-Argentine writer-director Lukas Valenta Rinner.

Bodies: everyone has one, yet few things in this world alarm us like the sight of one without clothes on it. This wry satire from Austro-Argentine writer-director Lukas Valenta Rinner hinges on the difference between a clothed, "decent" body and an unclothed, "indecent" one. Civilization — in a certain sense, at least — hangs in the balance.

Poor Belén (Iride Mockert) just needed a job. She's wound up cleaning house for a rich family in a gated community somewhere outside Buenos Aires, a place where the mansions are stripped of all character and the grounds are landscaped into immaculate blandness. But on the other side of a towering shrub, Belén catches a glimpse of something that will change her forever: naked people, lots of them, just hanging out. Belén develops a double life, spending half her time in a deodorized haven of tennis courts and cupcake-baking classes, and the other half taking Tantra workshops and exchanging sweaty embraces.

Echoing the deadpan social studies of Ulrich Seidl and Yorgos Lanthimos, A Decent Woman regards both parts of Belén's existence with equal coolness. Roman Kasseroller's exacting cinematography is often fixed on a wide space or pushing in on some weird activity. Valenta Rinner is not advocating for or against any so-called alternative lifestyle. His interests are anthropological, and maybe a little anarchist. One of his nudist priestesses speaks of defending her liberties to the death, and she means it. You have to fight for your right to party naked — and A Decent Woman follows through on that fight with a sense of marvellous mayhem.

DIMITRI EIPIDES

location_on Scotiabank 7

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theaters Regular

location_on Scotiabank 9

theaters Regular

location_on Scotiabank 8

theaters Regular