LA ARDILLA ROJA
Jota (Nancho Novo) is a severely depressed ex-rock star. His muse, Elisa—also the name of his biggest hit with his band “Las Moscas” (The Flies)—has left him. When he wants to commit suicide, a motorbike accident disturbs his last thoughts. The victim, a beautiful girl (Emma Suarez), appears to have lost her memory. When the hospital doesn’t remember her either, Jota seizes the opportunity to pass himself off as her boyfriend. He calls her Lisa and starts projecting his ex-partner onto her. When she can leave the hospital, they both go on a motorbike holiday to the campsite “La Ardilla Roja (The Red Squirrel)”. There, a game of delusion and fabrication begins, complicated by their friendship with the family of a speed-obsessed taxi driver and by a mysterious squirrel who bombards Jota with pinecones at every turn. Lisa, however, has a shady past of her own, and when it surfaces, it is no longer certain who is fooling whom.
For those who didn’t know it yet, we have more film talent walking around in Spain than Mister Almodovar. Julio Medem immediately made a name for himself with his debut Vacas (Cows), about the rival passions of three generations of two families in 19th century Spain, with the cows as silent ruminators. His second film, which he himself calls an “anti-macho parable in the form of a mystery comedy,” is a stylish romantic thriller in which the characters and the audience become swept up into a game of lies and delusion. The film is brimming with narrative and visual twists. People are portrayed from the point of view of objects or animals. Interludes about the red squirrel’s way of life are varied with a parodying video clip. Nancho Novo plays an ex-charismatic rocker with Spanish phlegm. The gorgeous Emma Suarez is Lisa (or is she not now?), and Ella Karejalde wanders around as Lisa’s psychotic ex-boyfriend.