“They are also cunning, humble and light, like flies. Liars, shy but strategic, sinuous, and very capable of weaving clever plots behind men’s backs.”–TV commentator describing red squirrels in a dream in The Red Squirrel
DIRECTED BY: Julio Medem
FEATURING: Nancho Novo, Emma Suárez, Carmelo Gómez
PLOT: A despondent musician is working up the courage to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge when suddenly a motorcycle crashes through the railing next to him. Going down to the beach to investigate he finds the victim is a beautiful woman who has survived the fall with no lasting damage, but is suffering from amnesia. He convinces her that they are lovers and takes her to a campground to continue the charade; but does she have a secret past that may come back to haunt them both?
- The Red Squirrel played out-of-competition in Cannes, but won the “Award of the Youth” (an award given by jurors who are 18-23 years old).
- Stanley Kubrick was an admirer of the film and, according to rumor, recommended Medem to Stephen Spielberg to direct The Mask of Zorro; Medem rejected the opportunity.
- The Red Squirrel did not find a theatrical distributor in North America, and might have remained nearly unknown if the arthouse successes of Lovers of the Arctic Circle and Sex and Lucia hadn’t sparked interest in Medem’s earlier movies. The film was released on VHS in the US, but although it was released in Europe it did not appear on Region 1 DVD until 2012.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: We won’t reveal the precise moment we’ve selected as The Red Squirrel‘s indelible image, because we think it will hit you harder if it comes as a surprise. We will say that it takes place in a dream confrontation on a barren windswept plain, and point out that we love it because it’s representative of the way that Medem builds up an almost unbearable tension, then breaks it with the unexpected interjection of absurd comedy.
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: With its tragically creepy protagonist seeking to recreate a woman who may not be what she seems into his idealized love, The Red Squirrel plays like a postmodern Spanish version of Vertigo, only with obscure portents of squirrelly doom and comically absurd dream sequences.
Brief clip from The Red Squirrel
COMMENTS: Obsession is always a promising starting place for a movie plot; so is mystery. If Continue reading 126. THE RED SQUIRREL [LA ADRILLA ROJA] (1993)