Close your Eyes

12¶ Blu-ray, DVD

It’s not unusual for directors to take time off between projects, often a year or two, but Victor Erice has taken some sabbatical from making features; his last full length film being 1992’s Dream of Light.

That’s not to say he hasn’t been directing, just choosing to direct a number of shorts since then.

It’s kind of ironic then that the Spanish director’s full feature in 32 years is just shy of three hours long.

boom reviews Close your Eyes
Listen, order what you want, but you know it will give you terrible gas.

The TV show Unsolved Cases has invited Miguel Garay (Manolo Solo) onto their show. He used to be a film director, but it’s been a while since his last film, The Farewell Gaze, over twenty years ago.

The main reason for it, and why the show have contacted him, is because of what happened to his star, and friend, Julio Arenas (Josť Coronado), who simply disappeared before the film was completed. His disappearance has since led many to think that he killed himself, hence the show reaching out to him.

The whole situation changed Miguel’s life completely, who stopped directing, and now finds himself living in a caravan and fishing for a living. But like some of the best films made, he doesn’t see the ending to his particular story coming.

boom reviews Close your Eyes
It's going to take some time filling this paddling pool up like this, but it'll be worth it.

The Spanish director has gone from one extreme to another, from making shorts to this epic that certainly makes its presence felt throughout.

It starts out with a story from 1947, near Paris, as a gentleman invites someone to his home to discuss a job he wants done, having someone found. It hints at an epic adventure in the Far East, before cutting to 2012, where the majority of the film is set.

Erice then anchors his main story to that of his earlier one, which is of course the film Miguel made, with his present now echoing his past. It’s elegantly done, but there’s no getting around the fact the film is far longer than need be. There are smaller vignettes to be found, such as the small community he now lives with, which are perfectly adequate, but you would think that even Miguel, the film’s protagonist director, would have had the sense to get the cutters out and do some much needed trimming.

Still, Erice can almost be forgiven with his ending, which is a thing of emotional beauty, that almost makes up for the many previous hours of film.

It’s difficult to ascertain if or when Erice will get around to directing another full feature, let’s just hope he takes a leaf out of his own book of short films, in thinking more along the lines of less is most definitely more.

we give this three out of five