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SEVILLE 2019

Review: The Queen of the Lizards

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- Can romantic comedy, science-fiction, transgression and an absurd sense of humour come together smoothly and harmoniously in a film shot in Super 8? The Burnin’ Percebes duo proves that they can

Review: The Queen of the Lizards
Bruna Cusí and Javier Botet in The Queen of the Lizards

In one brilliant sequence of The Queen of the Lizards, Berta (played by Bruna Cusí, discovered internationally in Summer 1993 [+see also:
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interview: Carla Simón
film profile
]
) explains to her daughter Margot (the little Margot Sánchez), who’s dressed as a dinosaur, that their family situation is about to change because this evening, mummy’s new boyfriend, Javi, an extra-terrestrial prince, will be arriving by way of a spaceship. The little girl listens and nods; she understands perfectly well what her mother’s talking about, thanks to the credulity and innocence that’s typical of her age. Viewers will identify with her, demonstrating the very same insane levels of trust, because, by that point in the film, they will already have succumbed to the naïve enchantment and proud extravagance of this new film by Juan González and Fernando Martínez, whose artistic name is none other than Burnin’ Percebes. It’s a wonderfully orchestrated work, lasting just a little over 60 minutes, which was presented in the Permanent Revolutions section of the 16th Seville European Film Festival.

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This time round, the authors of Ikea2 and Searching for Meritxell shot a film over the course of ten days, in Super 8, with all the grain, dirt and blurriness that comes with it, putting themselves in the hands of the great Javier Botet (recently honoured in Sitges for his many portrayals of iconic figures of the fantastic genre, such as the shadowy Medeiros girl of the [REC]2 [+see also:
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]
saga or the ghostly female protagonist in Andy Muschietti’s Mama [+see also:
trailer
making of
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]
) who, in this instance, steps into the shoes of an alien who lands on planet Earth to spread his seed and to ensure his species pervades the human race.

This Martian premise - which is fun, with a dreadfully bitter undertone, and which will delight and feed into the pop fantasies of those who feel nostalgia for the legendary TV series V, or for films such as Planet of the Apes, the miserable, Japanese Godzilla movies or Almodóvar’s first works - brings together the keys components of romantic comedy, science-fiction and Spanish Costumbrismo with surprising nerve, and the exhilarating discussion between the modern mother and the antiquated priest who teaches Catechism to the former’s daughter at the express request of the maternal grandma is particularly outstanding.

Obviously, those who look for perfect academicism, credibility of argument and unrelenting seriousness on screen will hot-foot it from cinemas screening this sci-fi farce in search of Alejandro Amenábar’s latest historical offering, because The Queen of the Lizards unfolds on a whole other level: it’s an epic feast, a proud absurdity, a never-ending joke and the umpteenth joyous demonstration that audiovisual works and (absurd) humour know no bounds, much like underground insolence and the creative imagination of certain directors.

Shot in one sequence over the course of ten days and featuring Sergio Bertran’s "symphonic" music, The Queen of the Lizards is produced by Burnin’ Percebes, who also took the film’s editing and screenplay in hand.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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