Sunday, August 03, 2014

Living is easy with eyes closed

I'm far too young to be an original Beatles fan. Hence I am ignorant of the Beatles story and have only an average familiarity with Beatles songs, but that is more than enough knowledge to enjoy Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed.

Set in Spain during Generalissimo Franco's dictatorship, Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed is a beautiful movie almost cloyingly so. It is carefully crafted and perfectly shot. The characters are unambiguously nice or nasty. It is a nostalgic and simplistic look back at 1960s Spain.

The authoritarian side of 1960s Spain is illustrated by some small set piece violence, with a very modern revulsion by bystanders. The perpetrators include a nun and a priest. This is a country where priests are the heroes of both comedies and dramas in the cinema and the radio is full of Catholic messages and no pop music.

Well meaning and single minded Antonio anchors the film. He is a 40 something bachelor, English teacher and Beatles fan, who listens to Radio Luxembourg and uses Beatles lyrics in his English classes. Hearing that John Lennon is in Almería filming Richard Lester’s How I Won the War Antonio decides to drive there to discuss song lyrics with his hero. The two hitchhikers he acquires on route fill out the film.

Juanjo has run away from home after one too many run-ins with his policeman father. Beautiful, pregnant, but still slim, Belén has run away from a home for unwed mothers. Neither has a destination and Antonio tries to help them out and keep them safe on the short road trip. Belén turns out to be more than a passive girl with a pretty face; she has hidden talents to help out the guys. Feminists might take exception to a her as a character, but the male audience will be less picky.

Ian's rating 4/5

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