Short of the Week

La Migala

Nursing a broken heart, a man with arachnophobia buys a poisonous bird spider and sets it free in his apartment.

Based on its plot synopsis alone, La Migala (the Bird Spider) is a short that will make you stop and take notice. I mean, c’mon! A giant poisonous spider used as a coping mechanism to get over the loss of a loved one? Consider this humble short lover sold.

Yet, the genius of director Jaime Dezcallar’s festival darling is that it takes an ostensibly ridiculous premise and turns it into something that feels tangible and real. Quickly you buy into the high concept. After all, what better way to eradicate the feelings of loss then by replacing them with ones of fear? One painful emotion cancels out the other. Every day suddenly becomes a matter of literal life and death. The resulting film is simultaneously emotional and suspenseful—a horror/drama hybrid that depicts the battle between a man’s internal depression and the much more tangible danger of a roaming, deadly spider. The symbolism may be obvious, but as this is a short, it’s quite effective. Moreover, since the film essentially takes place entirely in the lead character’s apartment, La Migala does an excellent job of capturing all of its emotion and tension in a single place.

Aesthetically, the visuals are sharp—warm lighting streams into the protagonist’s claustrophobic flat turned terrarium, painting everything with a golden glow. On the narrative side, Dezca accomplishes some interesting feats. By playing a bit with time, structure, and expectation, the film contains a surprising amount of twists and turns. While this certainly isn’t a Shyamalan-esque “twist” film by any stretch, a few choice reveals which shan’t be spoiled here give the entire piece an unexpected narrative complexity.

Based on a short story by Mexican magical realism author Juan José Arreola, the film was shot on a RED Epic in Madrid City over the course of the sweltering month of July. Dezcallar’s biography is quite an interesting one. Born in Madrid, he moved to Morocco when he was a teenager. He returned to Spain where he studied law and then subsequently worked in the Spanish television industry. He then moved to New York where he studied filmmaking at the NYFA, and then, finally returned back home to Madrid where he now works as a writer and director. La Migala played several festivals on the circuit and is just now finding its way online. To keep up with all of Jaime Dezcallar’s work, be sure to visit his website.

Ivan is a filmmaker, video editor, and motion graphic artist from the Washington, DC area. He is an avid movie watcher and podcaster. He’s also quite handsome and charming (at least that's what his Mom says). For more information about Ivan, visit Lucky 9 Studios.
  • kung_fuelvis

    One of my favourite short films synopsis’ in a long time.

  • Jen Hurler

    That was maddening to watch. In a good way. I too am afraid of spiders. The premise for this was great. I think it would have been interesting without the VO as well, actually. There were enough visual cues in the acting and staging that you could fully understand it all.

  • Sindhu R.

    Sure, the story plays out as expected but I think the devil is in the details for this one. I would watch it once a day just to get myself amped. Also a warning about how suspenseful this short is: does not pair well with hot tea from experience.

  • siphobrian

    amazing had me on the edge of my seat throughout ,weirdly believable aswell .

  • jaime dezcallar

    It’s great to be in Short of the Week. Thank you all! Muchas gracias!

  • Jason Sondhi

    You’re welcome Jaime, an amazing film you’ve got here.

  • Jason Sondhi

    You’re welcome Jaime, an amazing film you’ve got here.

  • Neo Ink Design

    Well done. This is a brilliant, moving piece of film.

  • TheDailySpice

    Absolutely enjoyed all the emotions I got from this piece. Thank you for the inspiration and job well done!

  • Sebastian Dongi D’ Morettzo

    This film without doubt captures the Absurd hero. Faced with crippling depression after the loss of his love, the protagonist most certainly becomes aware with the absurd relationship between his existence and the universe. Due to this awakening, he truly loses any hope for a notion of future and therefore decides to seize the day. The constant awareness of death allows the protagonist to declare himself free of the illusion of hope, therefore discovering the purest form of independence.

  • Marie Short

    I love it, it’s really brillant !!

  • Amar Mirza

    Loved the film, though I did not realize how afraid of spiders I am till I watched it. Literally had to pause half way through.

  • Marcus Fontain

    I love it, it’s really brillant !!