Close Your Eyes

Cerrar Los Ojos

Victor Erice, Spain, 2023 , 169 min

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Spain’s greatest living filmmaker, Victor Erice returns with what is only his fourth feature film, and the first in 31 years. (We’re also showing his sublime debut feature, The Spirit of the Beehive, in this New Spanish Cinema celebration.) Close Your Eyes is a deeply personal movie, in part about a life devoted to cinema, but also about getting old, kinship, loss, and memory.

Twenty years after the film he was directing fell apart when the leading man, his best friend Julio (José Coronado) disappeared midway through shooting, Miguel (Manolo Solo) agrees to reopen the mystery for a tacky TV show… He needs the money, but he’s also at that age for making a reckoning with his past. He meets with the abandoned film’s editor (Mario Pardo), with a fado singer both he and Julio were in love with (Helena Miquel) and with Julio’s now middle-aged daughter (played by Ana Torrent, the child star in Spirit of the Beehive).

Approaching three hours in length, this is a film made with an eye on the long game, ruminative and melancholy, but the pay-off is consequential and soul-stirring. It’s still lacking a distributor in North America, so film lovers are recommended to seize this opportunity to catch a late-career masterpiece from one of the all-time greats on the big screen.

A shimmery, nourishing culmination of ideas and ellipses in a career so elusive as to have taken on a mythic quality, to the point that his latest feels almost dreamed into being… In Erice’s aching, consummate return, cinema is life, but there’s life beyond it too.

Guy Lodge, Variety

A career summation and an exquisite reckoning of cinema’s power to haunt and enchant, to bring the physically or spiritually dead back to life.

Leigh Singer, Sight & Sound

It is a mysterious, digressive, long and baggily constructed film possessed of a distinctive richness and humanity, all about the balance between memory and forgetting which we all negotiate as we come to the end of our lives. Close Your Eyes meanders and twists and turns, it is expansive, garrulous and yet also downbeat and pessimistic. There is something deeply civilised and gentle about this film.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Book Tickets

Saturday January 06, 2:30 pm, VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre  Book Now
Monday January 08, 7:20 pm, VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre  Book Now