The Red Squirrel
sees Jota, an ex-pop star with a penchant for doing nothing very much, standing on a bridge contemplating suicide. Hes pulled back to reality by a dramatic motorcycle accident and goes to help the victim, an attractive young woman apparently physically unscathed but with severe amnesia. At the hospital he is assumed to be her boyfriend, and so the deception begins, as he invents everything from her name (Lisa) through to the details of their imaginary four-year relationship. Though based on a lie, it gradually becomes real but is Lisa really an amnesiac or is she deceiving the deceiver? Who is the mysterious Felix, leaving pleas on a late-night radio programme to his missing, mentally disturbed 25-year-old wife, Sofia? As an array of incidental characters get drawn in, each seems to be practising their own deceit.
This is a beautifully wrought, endlessly thought-provoking film, complemented by Alberto Iglesias's fabulous score. The two leads are superb: as Jota, Nancho Nova is both fey and hypnotic while Elisa (Emma Suárez) is wonderfully whimsical. Not surprisingly, it garnered a whole heap of awards, from Best Foreign Film at Cannes to Best Score at the Goya Awards. And the significance of the title? Red squirrels are, apparently, quick and cunning creatures; just like human beings.
On the DVD: The Red Squirrel is presented in Dolby Digital original Spanish soundtrack with option of English subtitles and anamorphic widescreen print. The usual stuff is on offer as special features, including trailers for other world cinema films, filmographies of the director and two leading characters, and a concise but considered analysis of the plot.--Harriet Smith
An ex-pop star is contemplating suicide when he is interrupted by a motorbike accident. On arriving at the scene, he sees that the bike rider is a beautiful young woman, who appears to have amnesia. He responds by pretending to be her boyfriend, naming her Lisa, and inventing a story for them both. They then go off on holiday to the Red Squirrel campsite. But there is more to Lisa than meets the eye, as he is about to find out.