Truly a movie gem, now showing at the Palace Cinemas in Australia, Spain’s memorable Living is Easy with Eyes Closed is an unlikely tale.
This is a delightful, uplifting, joyous, inspirational deep and thought provoking film, which is based on a true story. It is all about a man who achieves what many would see today as being impossible and not even try, let alone back in 60′s Spain… meeting John Lennon
It both captivates and charms, set as it is against the rugged backdrop, the rocky countryside and sun-drenched coastline of southern Spain.
The action takes place during the period when Spain was ruled over by autocratic dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco Bahamonde (1892-1975), head of a patriarchal society for nearly four decades (1939-1975). Everywhere else in the western world at the time it was the swinging sixties, when democracy was being tested to its limits by a rock’n roll generation.
In Spain however, going against the norm was not really advisable.
People were living out their lives in fear and parents were seeking to retain some sort of control over children in an age when familial societal attitudes involved considerable physical abuse.
The young adults of the next generational change are striving hard to not only break free of the system, but also wish to establish a future of their own that offers some promise of better things to come.
During the Spring of 1966, the sixteen year old gentle and sensitive Juanjo (Francesc Colomer) the eldest of six children whose policeman father objects violently to his ‘Beatle’ like hairdo, packs his bag and takes to the road.
On the way when hitchhiking, he meets up with the two people who will become his travel companions on this fabulous adventure of a lifetime for them all.
Juanjo meets the delightful Antonio, a High School Teacher and ‘Beatles’ obsessed fan, brilliantly played by Javier Cámara, who won the Best Actor award in Spain for this amazing performance.
Antonio who is in his mid forties, slightly pudgy, balding and plain, with a delightful countenance and wonderful character, is on the road in his cantankerous car driving across country on a passionate mission to meet and greet the number one ‘Beatle’ himself, his idol John Lennon.
Belén (Natalia de Molina), a beautiful young woman, some twenty years of age, is already on board. She has left a home for unwed mothers in the city still in the early stages of pregnancy, having decided to head for home.
She was also hitchhiking and has already been daringly rescued by Antonio from the first man who offered her a lift, whom she believes, and he knows, will be seeking sexual favours from her in return.
Antonio wants to talk to John Lennon about helping him understand the lyrics for his just-released ‘Revolver’.
He has tried to copy down the English lyrics of the ‘Beatles’ songs as he listens to them, but often misses words. Because he uses the Lyrics to teach his schoolchildren in his class of ’66, English he earnestly wants to ‘fill in the gaps’.
It’s a very simple request as far as the unworldly Antonio can see, and refreshingly he is not intimidated in any way by Lennon’s celebrity status.
Growing up in 50’s Australia, my parents and most especially my favourite Uncle, often lifted me up to kiss one of my aunts and uncles goodbye after they had passed.
Even as a small child, in this way I soon understood that death was an integral aspect of life, one that must be respected and honoured by those who loved and cared for the deceased.
How to mourn was also an important aspect of the rituals surrounding death, that were still respected and the etiquette and protocols attached to it, maintained.
Memories of ‘Victorian ideas’ about people in mourning, of wearing only black and refraining from having a good time for a year or more were still foremost in everyone’s mind, at least in my family.
Death and mourning were particularly poignant in Australia as a British colony, where life came to be respected even in death, far more perhaps than it had in the United Kingdom during, the late eighteenth century prior to the French Revolution.
So many people’s parents and grandparents had been transported from that unhappy place where they were starving. They were also treasured by those who had fled from Ireland in particular during the potato famine, including some of mine. So mourning attire also became about the development of culture and society.
This exploration of the fashionable, aesthetic and cultural implication of mourning fashion that existed most especially during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century will be on view through the Xmas season until February 1, 2015.
The timing of the year, holding it in the fall certainly seems appropriate to the subject. Autumn is a wonderful season for reflection.
The loss of Queen Victoria’s beloved husband Albert in 1861 after only 20 years of happy marriage for the young Queen was a bitter blow she really never recovered from, one she really only learned to live with over time. Her grief and wearing of black affected society at all levels internationally, particularly high society, which in those days moved fluidly between England and Europe and England and America.
Most of her children were married off into the courts of Europe and as she was a Matriarch for her family, the first woman Monarch in England for centuries, she was a considerable woman of influence, one who had a powerful impact on the whole of western society.
She plunged deeply into mourning, wearing only black from that time on.
Last Monday the 22nd of October 2014 saw the passing of 82 year old couture legend, Oscar de la Renta (1932-2014).
Here was a man of true style and class, a man whose designs made women look and feel feminine.
Just ask Sarah Jessica Parker. She was the hit of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Ball Gala in May this year in New York, wearing a stunning black and white creation, autographed by the man himself.
Or how about the new Mrs Clooney, Amal Alamuddin walking down the aisle in her bespoke de la Renta bridal gown.
It wasn’t just her new husband women were coveting!
Not to mention the …
The Australian Print Workshop is supported by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria. This ‘not-for-profit’ organisation in Fitzroy at Melbourne gains funding from a range of sources, including through their own efforts. Founded in 1981, many of Australia’s leading artists use the workshops to produce high quality prints. Rick Amor’s Afternoon by the Sea was drawn on the stone by the artist and printed by APW by Senior Printer Martin King and Trainee Printer Eliza Turnbull in 2012.
Artists include renowned Melbourne contemporary artist Jon Cattapan, who has been surveying the world from a contemporary perspective for more than three decades and is as high on the list of Australia’s contemporary artistic elite challenging us to consider what art is or is not
Works produced are represented in all major Australian public art gallery and museum collections. Now they will open to the public on Saturday 29th November, 2014 selling ‘limited edition’ prints to raise funds.
The Australian Print Workshop offers an exciting educational program all year around where artists and members of the public can learn about printmaking. They also hold exhibitions on average every five weeks, providing contemporary artists with a showcase to promote and sell their works.
The sale will allow the public to have access to works by some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, with unframed works representing a variety of styles and subjects. Australian Print Workshop is a unique centre providing established and emerging artists with access to expertise in the context of a world-class printmaking workshop. The death of Deborah Cassimatis-Hooper’s dog inspired “Beau’s Last Act’ is an acrylic, linocut and collage work.
From $100 – $250 each, the prints are just perfect for Xmas gifts. Impressions 2014 will enable The Australian Print Workshop to continue to provide world class printmaking facilities, exhibitions, education and other programs that have established this institution as a significant and respected national centre for printmaking.
Impressions 2014 opens to the public Saturday 29 November until Saturday 28 February at The Australian Print Workshop, 210 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm – Admission FREE
Spain’s award winning Living is Easy with Eyes Closed is an uplifting thought provoking inspiring film based on a true story about a journey to meet John Lennon
Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York is an exhibition of costume worn during mourning in the 19th century
Paul Dyer's Australian Brandenburg Orchestra presented Ottoman Baroque featuring Turkey's Whirling Dervishes, delivering a lesson about respect for sacred music
Announcing the name of the closing film for the Emirates British Film Festival 2014, to be held 5th to 26th November, 2014 at the Palace Cinemas, is a great way to go. The Imitation Game stars the super sleuth and rock star actor, Benedict Cumberbatch with British darling Keira Knightly, in a story and a […]
The Art of Botanical Illustration Exhibition is on now in the Domain Gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) until November 9, 2014, South Yarra in Melbourne