The 2014 Spanish Film Festival opens in Adelaide on Tuesday with a special event screening of the delightful Living is Easy with Eyes Closed.
This film from director David Trueba was the stand-out winner at this year’s Goya Awards, the Spanish film industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, receiving six awards including the big ones of Best Film, Best Lead Actor and Best Director.
It’s easy to see why the judges were so impressed. Living is Easy with Eyes Closed really does have it all: a quirky story based on real events; likeable but troubled lead characters; perceptive human emotions and perfectly calibrated situational humour, all filmed against a backdrop of 1960s rural Spain that’s so real you can taste the tapas.
The storyline centres on lonely schoolteacher Antonio, who uses the lyrics of songs by The Beatles as the basis of his English lessons. Javier Cámara gives Antonio a quiet dignity that makes him a very appealing lead character. When Antonio hears that John Lennon is in Spain for the filming of How I Won the War, he sets out in his aging Fiat to meet his idol.
Along the way, Antonio picks up two lost souls. Juanjo (Francesc Colomer) is a teenager running away from his domineering father and Belén (Natalia de Molina) is a young woman facing life as a single mother. Juanjo, Belén and Antonio are an unlikely trio but they soon form a strong bond.
Living is Easy with Eyes Closed is such a gentle film that it would be easy to dismiss it as a slice of feel-good nostalgia. But Trueba’s careful direction ensures it never slips over into schmaltz. The result is a memorable film about that moment in life when your dreams meet reality.
The Spanish Film Festival 2014 is at Adelaide’s Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas from May 6-21.
More InDaily Film reviews:
Spanish Film Festival: Living is Easy with Eyes Closed
The Other Woman
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Invisible Woman
Like Father, Like Son
Any Day Now
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Half of a Yellow Sun
Make your contribution to independent news
A donation of any size to InDaily goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. South Australia needs more than one voice to guide it forward, and we’d truly appreciate your contribution. Please click below to donate to InDaily.