Time seems to stand still in a village in the Galician coast. Everybody there is paralysed although we can still hear their voices: they talk about ghosts, about witches, about monsters. Three women show up, they are trying to find Rubio, a sailor that has recently disappeared in the sea.
Director's Statement Red Moon Tidedelves into the Galicia of the sea, encompassing it in its physical and imaginary dimensions, where reality and legend merge and where the sea and death intertwine with all their mythical, evocative power. We thus go deeper into the universe portrayed in my previous film, Costa da Morte.
In Red Moon Tide, the true story of Rubio de Camelle, a diver who rescued the bodies of more than forty shipwrecked people lost at sea, interweaves with the beings that inhabit the Galician fantastic imaginary. A mythical universe that follows in the wake of authors such as the painter Urbano Lugrís or the writer Álvaro Cunqueiro, who penned a sentence that had a strong influence on the film: ‘The ocean is an animal that breathes twice a day.’
We move across a limbo in the film: between life and death, between the imaginary and the real. And it is that frontier aspect that I was interested in retrieving from the archetypal figures of the witch or the Holy Company. Figures that dwell between both universes: they communicate with the dead or guide to the space of death.
‘Here, the dead don’t leave: they stay with us,’ some people told us in the interviews we conducted to prepare the film. A prominent aspect of the Galician identity, as was thoroughly analysed by the anthropologist Lisón Tolosana in the 1960s, has been this strong coexistence between the living and the dead. Which was not always experienced with fear but, very often, with the feeling of what is already assumed as natural.
I feel that the idea of a beyond arises from two essential needs: to keep the dead person close to you (for them not to disappear) and to shape the uncertainty after death (for there to be something). Legends and beliefs emerge to fill those voids, those uncertain spaces generated by death. From this perspective of the genealogy of legends as narratives that seek to give an answer to the unexplainable, we have created here a story around two mysterious events: the cosmic phenomenon of the red moon and the disappearance of the bodies of shipwrecked people in this sea-cemetery.
A fundamental aspect on which I wanted to reflect is the process of mourning, which cannot be brought to a close as a result of the disappearance of the body, or which may be extended owing to the presence of the phantom. The importance of the existence of a farewell, one last communication with the dead person, to close circles. In Red Moon Tide, we witness a village’s process of mourning for the disappearance of a local at sea.
In the village where our story unfolds, everybody is paralysed, lost deep in their own minds. Just as in Millet’s painting The Angelus, which was an important reference for the film, the people are not artificially still but their immobility seems to result from a moment of devotion and meditation or even mourning. It is around this introspective stillness that we have articulated the language of the film. A narrative form that allows us to explore the malleable nature of time, moving from its flow in nature to a temporary suspension caused by introspection, or to the mythical (timeless) time of legends.