If you were to ask David Lynch and Terry Gilliam to partner up and make a short film, you might end up with something like Cherry. This eight-and-a-half-minute quickie is a strange experiment of the absurd, a conjuring of the muses by way of an acid trip.
A title card informs us that the setting is Cambridgeshire, England, in May of 1930, but the specificity of the date and locale doesn’t matter. As a light, bossa nova instrumental (courtesy of writer-director, Rubén Giuliani) plays on the soundtrack, we follow a young man down a backwoods road as he arrives at the countryside estate of a Mr. Drummond (Oliver Buckingham).
“Mr. Drummond has summoned…Will…so that he may write Drummond’s biography.”
Mr. Drummond has summoned the American writer, Will (Aaryan Ambegaonkar), to his estate so that he may write Drummond’s biography. Will has been chosen by Drummond specifically based upon the strength of his debut novel, which has earned him a fair amount of acclaim and notoriety. Will, who is experiencing a profound case of writer’s block, doesn’t possess much confidence in his abilities and would even agree that his prior success was a fantastic fluke. “It’s not that hard to write,” Will confesses to Mr. Drummond in a flagrant statement of self-deprecation.
Will isn’t much of a conversationalist either. He seems awestruck by Drummond, so much so that he can barely compose a full sentence. “Ummm” and “uhhh” is about as profound as Will’s responses to Drummond’s questions get. Drummond plies Will with cognac in the stereotypical presumption that getting wasted will stimulate Will’s creative juices.
It certainly stimulates something. I was reminded of the moment in Lynch’s hypnotic nightmare Mulholland Drive when the mysterious box falls to the floor. In that instance, what had been a fairly straightforward narrative about an ingénue in Hollywood suddenly became a twisted and gloriously bewildering examination of the deranged. The remainder of Cherry involves a mysterious box (coincidence?), more jazzy music, Mr. Drummond on the trumpet, and what can only be described as a “groovy grass-man” emerging from a nearby ditch. When this odd episode is over, will our writer have worked through his confidence issues and get to work?