Review: Living is Easy with Eyes Closed (Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados) (2013)

LivingisEasywithEyesClosed

 

Kathie is at the Spanish Film Festival for Digital Education Services.  Read Kathie’s second review from the Spanish Film Festival, on now in most capital cities around the country.  Today she reviews Living is Easy with Eyes Closed.  You can also check out her review for another film from the festival, Three Many Weddings (Tres bodas de más).

 

Review by Kathie.

David Trueba’s Living is Easy with Eyes Closed won six awards at this year’s Goyas, and deservedly so.  But how could it lose, based on real events concerning John Lennon, with the wonderful Javier Camara in the lead role of Antonio, and a truly engaging storyline?  Antonio, dedicated and homely English teacher, who inspires his students with the lyrics of Beatles songs, takes off on a road trip to the south of Spain in hopes of talking to his hero John Lennon who he learns has a small role in a war comedy currently being shot in Almeria, Spain’s spaghetti Western territory.  The desolate and arid scenery of this part of the south of Spain is almost another character in the story.

On the way, Antonio picks up first Belén, 20, and then Juanjo 16, each with their own reasons for running away from aspects of Franco’s oppressive regime being played out in their own lives.  One of the strengths of the film is that the grimness of those years is only lightly sketched in for us without ever dominating.  The two youngsters, each with their own well defined character and life issues, are great foils for Antonio’s sense of fun, and his innate affection for young people in general.  There are many hilarious scenes interspersed with tender and moving moments.  The quest ultimately has consequences that all Beatles fans can feel grateful for.  Very well worth seeing.

Incidentally, if you saw older brother, Fernando Trueba’s ‘Belle Epoque’ in the early 90’s you’ll recognise Jorge Sanz and Ariadna Gil (as Juanjo’s father and mother) playing opposite each other again.  You can see them in the ‘Belle Epoque’ trailer on You Tube.