March 21 2016 Drama Movies Newsletter
John Lennon continues to inspire writers and filmmakers. "Danny Collins", the 2015 film, features a character who decides to change his life when he receives a long-delayed letter from Lennon. "Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed", which I reviewed this week, centers around a Spaniard who teaches English using the lyrics of Beatles' songs. Written and directed by David Trueba, the film is about life, love and goodness, as Lennon says above.
Trueba does not ignore the reality of political repression, however. The film takes place in 1966, during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Trueba uses subtle means to suggest the threat of violence that underlies Spanish life. In the opening scenes we see a priest slapping a student, and a girl slapping her doll. Belen, a pregnant teenager, is photographed behind the iron bars of a gate and a staircase, suggesting a metaphorical imprisonment. The overall tone of the film is hopeful, however. Trueba, at least in this film, believes in the essential kindness of human beings.
Music certainly has the power to change lives. This past week, the power of film was also demonstrated. On Thursday, SeaWorld announced it will end its killer whale shows and also stop its captive breeding program. This is due to Gabriela Cowperthwaite's devastating 2013 documentary, "Blackfish", and the outrage it provoked. Cowperthwaite, who wrote, produced, and directed the documentary, did a masterful job of investigative reporting on the theme park. As print journalism continues to decline, films like "Blackfish" will assume greater importance in educating and informing public opinion.
Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.
Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed Film Review
1966, and John Lennon is in Spain shooting a "How I Won The War". Antonio, who idolizes Lennon and uses his lyrics to teach English, hits the road to meet his pop hero. Beautifully photographed, this tale is told with warmth and clarity by writer/director David Trueba.
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