The Red Squirrel Review

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At the point of suicide, former rock star Jota, instead passes himself off as the boyfriend of amnesiac Lisa


In the small hours of the morning on a deserted San Sebastian beach, a girl (Suarez) and her motorbike crash-land on to the sand, just as Jota (Novo) is summoning up enough courage to commit suicide. His morbid musings inconveniently interrupted, Jota rushes over to help, quickly establishes that the girl has lost her memory and, on an impulse, pretends to be her boyfriend.

Continuing the charade at the hospital, Jota invents a name for the girl - Lisa - and fills her in on theirfour-year relationship. Then, when the doctors confirm that she does have amnesia, he whisks her off for a sun-and-sex-filled sojourn at a lakeside campsite called the Red Squirrel, where it gradually becomes apparent that Lisa's real past is a lot more complex and disturbing than even Jota's hyperactive imagination could have dreamed up.

The day-to-day goings-on at the campsite are punctuated by a series of apparently unconnected but somehow vaguely portentous images which create a sense of piecing together a puzzle.

Handling such weighty metaphysical issues as truth, identity and reality with a refreshing lightness of touch, writer-director Medem creates a pleasingly complex film - it's a love story, a mystery, a comedy - which is an unnerving, thought-provoking mix of the commonplace and the surreal, the sinister and the comic. The quirky photography and the squirrel references may be overdone, but there is enough meat here to ensure that little philosophical questions and startling images will keep recurring long after the house lights have come up.

A dazzling concoction of lies, flashbacks and devious power games