Víctor Erice, a Spanish filmmaker, has been behind the camera for thirty years after creating masterpieces like The Spirit of the Beehive, The South, and The Sun of the Quince. Although he has continued to work on cinema, making documentaries and short films, it seems that he has remained stuck in the past, disconnected from the present. Closing your eyes is a reckoning with the trauma of not being able to direct the adaptation of Juan Marsé’s novel, The Shanghai Haunting, on which he was working for a long time.
The director’s feature film is a favorite at the 2024 Goya gala, with 11 nominations. It has also received awards at the Writers’ Circle medals. The film revolves around unfinished films, directors who stopped being directors, lost actors, and fading memories. The main character, played by Manolo Solo, represents the director himself, who is confined to himself and has distanced himself from what he once loved. He begins to investigate the disappearance of an actor from his films, leading to ghostly encounters and conversations about cinema and lost time.
The film is almost 170 minutes long, with discursive conversations that become repetitive and tiring. It seems as if the director has lost the magic that once characterized him and has entered a vicious circle of self-pity. Closing your eyes is a film that suffocates the viewer, leaving them feeling drained and uninspired. The film closes with a scene that refers to the charm of The Spirit of the Hive, but it arrives too late to compensate for the tiring journey.
Erice, who is 83 years old, is waiting for academics to value his film. He has never won a Goya, but has received important awards at the Cannes Festival and the San Sebastián Festival. Despite his track record and reverence from film buffs, he has not received the recognition he deserves.
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