La Cienaga, translated as “The Swamp” represents a story of deterioration and suffocation. The movie focuses on the lives of two women and their bourgeois families, all of which seem to be slowly rotting away throughout the film.
From the thick rainforests and visuals of wet mud, to the extremely humid environment and the various bodies portrayed in each shot, suffocation and claustrophobia are heavily depicted. The shots are cluttered with either people, or the humid atmosphere that is depicted within them. Breathing space is limited, as well as privacy.
The opening shots fully encompass a sense of claustrophobia and lack of sanitation, which represents the deteriorating environment of the families. Several adults, in the opening shots of the film, are depicted as lazy and selfish, which is instantly spotted. Mecha, the mother of the house of one of the two families, falls poolside in front of several adults with wine glasses in her hand. She severely cuts herself from the broken glass, and the adults continue to lay poolside paying no attention to her incident. The amount of blood she lost could have caused her to die, yet none of the adults came to her help. She was rescued by her daughter, and her maid, who ironically she wants to fire.
Deterioration and suffocation (claustrophobia) go hand in hand in the film. In one of the opening shots of the film, a cow is seen entrapped in mud. The cow struggles to try to get out, however cannot muster enough strength. He is trapped by the mud and due to his entrapment the life within in the cow begins to deteriorate. The scene of the cow foreshadows the deterioration of the family, except instead of mud, laziness and claustrophobia represent the families vices. In each family no one is ever alone. They are always together or seen with another person. There is no sense of privacy.