IMDb > The Red Squirrel (1993)
La ardilla roja
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The Red Squirrel (1993) More at IMDbPro »La ardilla roja (original title)

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Julio Medem (writer)
View company contact information for The Red Squirrel on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 February 1994 (France) See more »
Jota is about to commit suicide. As he fighting against himself, trying to jump off a bridge, a girl riding a motorcycle falls off the bridge... See more » | Add synopsis »
12 wins & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A mesmerising thriller with hints of magical realism See more (24 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Emma Suárez ... Lisa
Nancho Novo ... Jota

María Barranco ... Carmen

Karra Elejalde ... Antón

Carmelo Gómez ... Félix

Cristina Marcos ... Chica pelo azul
Mónica Molina ... Chica pelo rojo
Ana Gracia ... Dra. Psiquiatra
Elena Irureta ... Begoña
Susana García Díez ... Eli (as Susana García)
Ane Sánchez ... Cristina
Eneko Irizar ... Alberto
Sarai Noceda ... Ana
Maite Yerro ... Nicola
Txema Blasco ... Jefe Neorologia
Chete Lera ... Salvador

Gustavo Salmerón ... Luis Alfonso
Susana Hernández ... Medica
José María Sacristán ... Médico
Andreas Prittwitz ... Otto
Roberto Cairo ... Michel
Mikel Laskurain ... Camillero joven
Amaia Merino ... Enfermera 1
Maite Jiménez ... Joven Camilla
Teresa Calo ... Secretaria
Amaia Lizarralde ... Enfermera 2

Directed by
Julio Medem 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Julio Medem  writer

Produced by
Fernando de Garcillán .... executive producer
Enrique López Lavigne .... associate producer
Original Music by
Txetxo Bengoetxea 
Alberto Iglesias 
Cinematography by
Gonzalo F. Berridi 
Film Editing by
María Elena Sáinz de Rozas 
Art Direction by
Álvaro Machimbarrena 
Makeup Department
Gregorio Mendiri .... makeup artist
Production Management
Ricardo García Arrojo .... production manager
Luis Gutiérrez .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Txarly Llorente .... first assistant director
Art Department
Marta Blasco .... property master
Sound Department
Julio Recuero .... sound
Ricardo Steinberg .... supervising sound editor
Special Effects by
Reyes Abades .... special effects
Ángel Plana .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Juan Miguel Azpiroz .... first assistant camera
Other crew
Valentín Fernández-Tubau .... script consultant
Ana Medem .... choreographer
Carmen Sánchez .... production assistant

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"La ardilla roja" - Spain (original title)
See more »
114 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Stanley Kubrick was such a fan of the film, he purchased Julio Medem's own personal print.See more »
Jota:[repeated] Breathe with me.See more »
Movie Connections:
ElisaSee more »


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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
A mesmerising thriller with hints of magical realism, 18 March 2008
Author: Graham Greene from United Kingdom

Julio Medem is something of an underrated figure within the spectrum of world cinema. He regularly produces bold, imaginative and exciting films that shatter the usual preconceptions we might have of the limitations of cinematic language and storytelling in the visual sense, as well as presenting an incredibly intelligent and original approach to the ideas of production design, editing and cinematography. Despite this, however, he has yet to be fully acclaimed universally as a great filmmaker in the tradition of Tarkovsky, Bergman, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Godard, Welles etc - or even ranked alongside contemporary cinematic figures such as Pedro Almodóvar, Lars von Trier, Aki Kaurismäki, Michael Haneke and Guillermo Del Toro. The Red Squirrel (1993) was only Medem's second feature following the elliptical historical satire Vacas (1991) and yet, even now we can already see the themes from that particular film being further developed in preparation for the later, perhaps even great films, such as Tierra (1996), The Lovers of the Arctic Circle (1998) and Sex and Lucia (2001).

Like those films, The Red Squirrel is a multi-layered work rife with possible interpretations and elements of broad, Buñuelian surrealism that are at odds with the more recognisable presentation of reality established in the film's intriguing first half. On our initial viewing the plot can seem incredibly straightforward, revolving around the strange relationship between a suicidal former pop star and the mysterious, amnesiac woman who literally falls into his life. With this section of the film, Medem creates a truly unique modern-day thriller, building on elements of Hitchcock - most noticeably Vertigo (1957), with its iconographical depictions of mysterious blondes, shadowy villains, damaged heroes and seething paranoia - but intelligently subverting them by way of elements as diverse as Salvador Dali, the aforementioned Buñuel, low-budget B-movies, The Road Warrior (1980), elements of magical realism and ideas central to the Basque regional identity; again, drawing parallels with the hypnotic and self-reflexive world of Vacas. These subtle editions compliment the more recognisable characteristics of the romantic-thriller mystery story at the heart of the film to create something that is much more engrossing, enticing, and unique.

As the story progresses and we are drawn ever deeper into the film's central mystery, we begin to note the emergence of further plot influences, such as psychological horror, melodramatic eroticism, heart-stopping suspense, black comedy and eventually full-blown surrealism. As it does, the film then becomes much more complex, taking on issues of love, sexuality, mental and physical manipulation, mind-games and cinematic role-playing. Medem ties the whole thing together with some wonderful set pieces and a staggering use of cinematic style put together on an obviously limited budget. It isn't purely the imagination and intelligence of Medem that impresses us though; with every wild narrative U-Turn or directorial flourish - incorporating everything from Kiss Me Deadly (1955) to Raising Arizona (1987) - being backed up by the fine performances from lead actors Nancho Novo and Emma Suárez, both of whom manage to makes us care an enormous amount about these two protagonists and the relationship that forms between them.

Although it's always tempting to say that both Medem and his work is unlike anything else you will ever see; I think there are some obvious reference points here, many of which have been mentioned above, as well as a certain similar approach to filmmakers such Krzysztof Kieslowski - with the deep, meditative and vaguely hypnotic use of camera combined with the intricate presentation of a narrative driven by the purely psychological; most apparent for example in his epic TV series Dekalog (1989) and one of his greatest films, The Double Life of Veronique (1991) - and especially a filmmaker like Wong Kar-Wai, with the idea of the lead character's enigmatic pop song describing the narrative and the central location manipulating the story so as to take on more self-reflexive, metaphorical notions being very much in keeping with films such as like Happy Together (1997), In the Mood for Love (1999) and 2046 (2004).

As with much of Medem's work, including the 2001 erotic mystery thriller Sex and Lucia, the film uses much in the way of cinematic coincidences, with the various coincidences that form the basis of the plot acting as clues to the narrative. This turns the film into a wonderful example of cinematic storytelling, creating a real mystery for the audience in which all the pieces fall perfectly into place during the film's final act, but still leave us room for interpretation. Without question, this is a delightful cinematic experience that goes way beyond the limitations of film; elaborating on some of the complex ideas regarding narrative, time, character and spirit presented in Vacas, whilst simultaneously foreshadowing the ideas of escape, transcendence, imagination, eroticism and the notion of a story being written as it goes, which will all be further developed in Sex and Lucia. With this in mind, The Red Squirrel is an absolute marvel; an epic, ornate jigsaw-puzzle for the audience, and - without question - one of the greatest films of the 1990's.

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