Close your Eyes (2023)

April 2nd, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir/Wri: Victor Erice | Spain, Drama 169′

Close you Eyes screened to rapt audiences at Cannes last year. It marked the Basque director’s triumphant return to the screen after an absence of thirty odd years when his Dream of Light (1992) had followed on from El Sur (1983) and his acclaimed debut The Spirit of the beehive (1973). His fourth features unites him with Ana Torrent who was only 6 when she made her screen debut in The Spirit.  

Close your Eyes is a slow-burning drama that reflects discursively on memory and disillusionment through a story set in the 1990s. An actor called Julio Arenas (José Coronado) has disappeared from the set after filming the opening and closing scenes that bookend a film called The Farewell Gaze. The director Miguel Garay (Manolo Solo) has subsequently abandoned the project and repaired to beachside Andalusia where he has kept himself amused with his writing until an opportunity to be interviewed for a programme about Julio’s mysterious disappearance sends his mind flooding back to the past as his friendship and working relationship with the actor resurface.

Erice uses Miguel’s experience as a way to delve into the theme of loss, identity and the mystical power of cinema and its interplay with the past and present offering both fantasy and illusion. Although Miguel has tried to obliterate certain painful memories of his past, the man he thought he was is recalled through the prism of the present. So the search for his lost friend offers an opportunity to shine light into the darker recesses of his subconscious that fills in some gaps and culminates in a startling finale. Erice explores the men’s work as artists in a subtle and layered piece of filmmaking that serves as a valedictory and highly intelligent reflection on the world of cinema. @MeredithTaylor


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