Living is Easy With Eyes Closed Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Spain, 1966 Plump and good-natured Antonio (Javier Camara) teaches English at a school in the small town of Albacete. He is a fan of the Beatles and prefers to teach his students on the example of Beatles songs. He also teaches them to understand what the texts of the famous four mean in general.

Meanwhile, the Beatles are on the verge of disintegration: the contradictions between the members of the team are growing, John Lennon is in a creative crisis and decides to start a career as an actor, for which he comes to Spanish Almeria to star in Richard Lester’s film How I Won the War.

Antonio, who is recording the words of the band’s songs by ear from the radio, decides to take advantage of John’s arrival. He goes by car from Madrid to Almeria to try to meet John and clarify some texts.

On the way, at a gas station, Antonio meets a pretty young girl named Belén (Natalia da Molina) who is hitchhiking south to Malaga: she has escaped from a strict girls’ boarding school. Antonio offers to give Belen a lift to Almeria, and from there she will somehow get to Malaga. Belen, who does not like the man who drove her before, keeps him company.

Some time later, on the road, Antonio discovers a voting teenager, Juanjo (Francesc Colomer), who has a Beatles-style haircut. Juanjo ran away from home in protest against the fact that his strict gendarme father demanded that his son cut his hair.

They come to the coast. Antonio and Belen take two rooms in a hotel, Juanjo Antonio attaches to the small bar “El Catalan”, owned by the Catalan Ramon (Ramon Fontsere). Juanjo works in a bar during the day and can sleep in it at night.

Now Antonio will have to try to meet with John Lennon.

***

The film of 2013, which was, to a certain extent, significant for Spain: it has already seven nominations for the Goya Award, of which six were prizes: Best Film, Best Actor for Javier Camara, Best Debutante Actress Natalia de Molina, Best directed by David Trueuba, for Best Screenplay and Best Original Score. Also in that year, this film was nominated for an Oscar from Spain.

At the same time, the picture is quite simple and even uncomplicated. A resilient teacher in the company of a beautiful girl who rebelled against the decisions imposed on her (quite quickly it turns out that she is pregnant and that her mother sent her to a specialized institution where they solve problems with “fallen women”) and a teenager who rebelled against the tyrant-father go to the coast, where they spend Literally two days, and then disperse.

During the trip and during these two days, each of them understands something important for himself. Antonio demonstrates to everyone else that the Beatles principle “All you need is love” is most important for him, which he understands as the need to take care of people who need his help. At the same time, he helps people in such a way that they don’t even understand that they are doing something special for them: Antonio is a very cheerful and good-natured person, he constantly jokes and sometimes makes fun of his fellow travelers, but his jokes are never offensive.

This movie is very uplifting and atmospheric. There seems to be nothing special in it, but in the process of watching you really feel all this atmosphere – the road to the south of Spain, the south of Spain itself and the Mediterranean coast, a small village with a wretched hotel and bar, which is owned by God knows what ways the Catalan Ramon got here . It’s like you are in these places with the heroes of the film, and you really care what will happen to them: will Antonio be able to meet John Lennon, which seems incredible, how the fate of the girl Belen will turn out, what will happen to Juanjo, who is still a teenager and cannot live without a family.

At the same time, it will not be clear to a foreign audience how significant this film is for Spain and why it received so many awards: after all, it seems to be really nothing special!

But for the Spaniards, it’s 1966. This is still Francoist Spain: there were seven years left before the caudillo Franco left his post, and another 10 years remained before the coming to power of King Juan Carlos, who turned the country from an authoritarian to a democratic one and personally renounced any real power.

Soon some political reforms will begin in the country, but in 1966 it was still that Spain with strict totalitarian control of the inhabitants by the state and the church, where the church had great influence (because Franco relied on it) and where the church was given care of education of young people, where the church was virtually beyond the jurisdiction, children in Catholic schools were beaten by teachers, and numerous cases of pedophilia among churchmen of various levels were diligently hushed up at the very top. Where there could be no divorces, where a woman could not leave her husband, even if he beat her and her children with mortal combat, where a woman could not control either her own fate or the fate of her child.

And when you know about all this, you look at these people in 1966 with completely different eyes: the teacher Antonio, who never once raised a hand against his students and who is clearly jarring when the students are beaten by the padre director, at Belen, who refuses to consider herself “fallen” and does not want to give her child to an orphanage just because she is not married, and Juanjo, who defends his right to wear the hairstyle that he likes.

It’s a completely different story, you know. These people challenged the environment, and those Spaniards who remember what Spain was like under Franco, these nuances are very clearly felt.

Moreover, there is also “El Catalan” – the Catalan Ramon, who periodically releases phrases in Catalan with a clear challenge, and more recently, Franco was shot for the Catalan language. In 1966, of course, people were no longer shot for speaking Catalan, but nevertheless, all this was and was very recent.

However, even if you do not understand all these subtleties, the film is really very good. And he is good precisely in mood and sensations. The conversations that the main characters have among themselves, on the one hand, seem to be trifling, but rather important things are discussed in them. Antonio, who is a kind of modern Don Quixote with the complexion of Sancho Panza. (Well, he’s not that fat, by the way, I’ll note, he’s just well-fed – because he’s a bachelor and eats the devil knows what.) Belen is completely charming: on the one hand, she somehow doesn’t show herself brightly, but she herself the situation indicates that she does not intend to cave in, and some episodes with her demonstrate this quite clearly.

Boy Juanjo – it seems to be such a typical 15-year-old teenager, but he really is a person, and this clearly shows. Even the fact that he ran away from a family with a despotic father at his age says a lot about him. And they will have a small and rather touching episode of a very short mutual enthusiasm there with Belen.

The musical accompaniment in the picture is absolutely wonderful, and it clearly attracts attention. (It’s not for nothing that the film won the Best Original Score award.) It’s very fitting – it’s mostly Spanish guitar – and it really adorns the film.

Unfortunately, in United States this film was not released under license and I did not find it in dubbing at all. In the original, it is very interesting in pronunciations: Antonio has such Madrid, Ramón has Catalan, the owner of the hotel has southern Spanish, which the whole trinity did not understand.

But at least you can watch it with fairly adequate United Statesn subtitles. I watch any films in any languages ​​with United Statesn or English subtitles. This allows you to fully understand the original flavor.

I don’t know if my readers will want to watch this film in Spanish with subtitles, but I really liked it, and I tried to explain what exactly interested me in this picture.

 

Living is Easy With Eyes Closed movie meaning / Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados

Director: David Trueba Cast: Javier Camara, Natalia de Molina, Francesc Colomer, Ramon Fontsere, Rogelio Fernandez, Jorge Sanz Ariadna Gil, Violeta Rodriguez

Tragicomedy, Spain, 2013, 108 min.

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