In the last edition of the Valladolid International Film Week we had the opportunity to see two of the Spanish films that are currently on our billboard. don’t look in the eyes by Felix Viscarret and Basil by Avelina Prat.
don’t look in the eyes (Felix Viscarret) ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Based on a novel by the popular Juan José Millás, don’t look in the eyes presents the story of Damián (Paco León), a man who, after being fired from the company he had been working for all his life, locks himself in a closet. Once inside, he is transferred to Lucía’s house (Leonor Watling) and will remain locked up witnessing the family ups and downs, as if it were a ghostly presence.
don’t look in the eyes adapts the surrealist tone typical of Millás’ literature and fuses it with a kind of digressive narration and close to Charlie Kaufmann’s own reverie. Felix Viscarret’s film combines everyday moments where the character of León faces his peculiar day-to-day life, with other fugues where Iñaki Gabilondo himself becomes his particular Jiminy Cricket. The mixture, supported by the sober and dramatic interpretation of the Sevillian actor, works in bursts, alternating inspired moments with others of lesser interest, accusing of a perhaps too episodic narration that makes the story stagnate in certain sections. The best thing about the film is without a doubt the ghostly relationship that is established between the characters of Damián and Lucía and it is where Viscarret succeeds in a tone of estrangement that makes don’t look in the eyes be more than interesting.
Basil (Avelina Pratt) ⭐️⭐️½
The meeting between a sullen retired architect and a Bulgarian immigrant is the starting point of Basil, dramatic comedy written and directed by Avelina Prat. Between chess games, both men will get to know each other and delve into the peculiarities of each one, until they become close friends. Along the way, there will be bridge games in high-class settings and we will attend the reflections of Alfredo’s daughter, played by Karra Elejalde.
Basil It is a well-intentioned film with enough heart to have been deserving of the acting award at the Seminci in Valladolid. Elejalde pulls the boards again to give life to his umpteenth surly man but with a good background in which he moves like a fish in water. For his part, Ivan Barnev meets Vasil, a character who moves between innocence and wisdom. Beyond the relationship between these two men, Avelina Prat’s script is too formulaic and explanatory (Alexandra Jimenez’s character only has the function of being surprised and giving data about Bulgaria). Her good intentions are shipwrecked due to the accumulation of platitudes, repetitions and allegedly surprising script tricks that reduce the complexity of a film that is seen with pleasure but leaves no trace.