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By Mike Watt | November 23, 2005

Sometime in the near future, cars will fly, acid rain will fall, mutant insects will appear in corners, but life will pretty much go on as usual. A young man will discover that his attraction to his new female roommate is borne of repressed emotions—especially when he discovers that she’s his sister (who he always thought had died as a teenager)! And when the pair learn about their blood-relationship, they move ahead with the love affair anyway.

But how was her life kept secret from him all these years? Was she really in a coma? And what does this have to do with the ominous DNA 21 Corporation, which is rapidly becoming a political institution? Could this be the sister’s revenge for sexual abuse suffered at the hands of her father while the mother and brother stood quietly by? And what’s the deal with the human tooth that gives birth to a brand new species of mutant insect?

Miguel Coyula’s “Red Cockroaches”, the first of a proposed trilogy, is a cinematic Skinner Box of surreal wrong turns. Shot on a miniscule budget, Coyula wisely spends his time with the characters and allows the futuristic aspects to take a backseat to the internal struggles. CGI cars fly by in the background of tight, canted close-ups while the glowing titular insects scurry about across the floor and countertops in inserts. By the end of the film, the audience may have more questions than answers, but it never feels unsatisfying because the film is so uniquely bizarre and original.

“Red Cockroaches” has been garnering some acclaim of late at festivals, for which, all power to Coyula (who seems to have worn virtually every hat in the production). The casual viewer may not take to the dense, mostly-subtextual movie, but folks who are looking for something odd and different are highly recommended to check this out.

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