Most, if not all, media pundits agreed that the Spanish film, Los Jerbos Dulces, was a shoo-in for “Best Foreign Documentary” at the Academy Awards. It lost, probably because it was never nominated. But since Myopic Jimmy’s Movie Reviews was the first American media outlet to recognize this brilliant piece of work, here for Movieplot.com fans is our original review:
Welcome to Myopic Jimmy’s Movie Reviews: This week’s movie is Los Jerbos Dulces (“The Sweet Gerbils”, Spain, 2014). The traditional running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, is turned on its head by Spanish director Esteban d’Cortez in this delightful documentary set in the tiny town of Erpaz, Spain.
Each year on July 7 in Erpaz, thousands of frightened gerbils are turned loose in the streets of town and chased by drunken, shirtless men, often brandishing garden rakes and dish cloths. The film was shot entirely in black and white and then meticulously colorized by Spanish artisans who hand-painted each of the thousands of 35mm. frames of the film. In some segments, the gerbils take on a rather gaudy reddish color, but overall the effects of the colorization process are aesthetically pleasing.
Segments spliced among the dramatic scenes of the animals being hounded, cornered, and at times accidentally stomped on include an interview with Erpaz Mayor Maurice d’Carva, who expounds upon the history of the five-hundred year old tradition begun by Queen Isabella, who had a pet gerbil named Frankie.
Another interview subject is local SPCA president Orchid d’Maz, who supports the event as “good clean fun for all, both human and rodent alike.” (“Diversión para todos, tanto los seres humanos y de los roedores por igual.") American actress Gwyneth Paltrow supplies the Spanish narration while the voice of Fran Drescher is simultaneously heard reading the English subtitles.
Watch for cameo appearances by Ralph Nadir and Vladimir Putin, on horseback but looking suspiciously like Rat Pack comedian Joey Bishop.