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SJU Screens “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed”

PHOTO COURTESY/youtube palacefilms

Chyna Inez Davis, Staff Writer

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Friday, Sept. 29 kicked off the beginning of St. John’s Global Film Series at the Sodano Coffee House in the D’Angelo Center.

Students had the opportunity to snack on churros and plantains while sitting back for the premiere of “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed” (“Vivir es Fácil con los Ojos Cerrados”) by David Trueba.

Professor Douglas Cantelmo, along with Campus Activities, made this event possible for students.

“There’s a lot of Spanish movies, but there’s not that many that touch upon southern Spain and the topography, the culture,” Cantelmo said. “I thought it was interesting to have a film that was talking about love of music, love of cinema, and also just the 1960s culture.” “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed” was filmed in Andalusia, a region in Southern Spain. If it wasn’t the scenery in this vivid film that caught the audience’s attention, it was the comedic English teacher, Antonio San Roman, and his obsession with John Lennon.

Lennon and the Beatles were the motivation behind this film. It was based off of The Beatles’ song, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” in addition to Lennon’s movie role in “How I Won the War in 1966.”

After an introduction highlighting the former Beatles singer, the film delved into Antonio’s storyline. When he hears that Lennon traveled to Almeria to film the movie, he plans a trip in hopes of meeting him.

On the way he encounters two people. The first, Belen, is a girl who escapes from a home dedicated to aiding pregnant women and finding homes for their babies. His second encounter is Juanjo, a 16-year-old high school student running away from home.

The journey to Almeria created a long-lasting bond between them. Antonio, referred to as “The Fifth Beatle” by his students, successfully met John Lennon. Juanjo ends up returning to his traditionally strict family, whereas Belen will continue to search for a place to stay.

Students across all majors and backgrounds came to watch the film. Amanda Garcia, junior and Biology Major, is taking Spanish II this semester.

This served as part of her Global Language and Culture Center (GLCC) requirement.

“I actually don’t know what it is, but I’m interested in seeing what it’s about,” Garcia said. “I’ve never seen a movie in another language. I thought that’d be cool.”

Reading subtitles throughout the movie only enhanced the culture, distinguishing dialects within different regions of Spain.

Hannah Pruzinsky, senior, reminisced about her time outside of the U.S. while eating plantains, her favorite food. She studied abroad in various locations including Madrid, Barcelona and Spain. “Really nostalgic about my time abroad,” Pruzinsky said.

The film provoked her interest to see a little bit more of the lifestyle in Southern Spain. Pruzinsky continued to say, “You don’t really get this experience in New York.” She encourages other students to visit the country.

The movie incorporated little Western influence, but it was no match for the traditional and rich culture. “You’ll see how strong American culture is and British culture,” Cantelmo said. “It’s a movie that reflects on that.”

Professor Cantelmo wanted to incorporate approachable films to begin the film series this semester.

“A lot of times when you talk about international films, a lot of them get pretty series,” Cantelmo said. “Maybe in future semesters we can have films that touch upon violence abroad…but to begin with three films that are on the lighter side and kind of introduce people to some-I think that’s important.”

After screening, the global films will be donated to The Foreign Language Center for students to access.

They are not accessible on Hulu, Netflix or other movie streaming sites.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “SJU Screens “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed””

  1. Paul HUdson on October 6th, 2017 11:24 am

    Where is St. John’s university please? Is it in New York?

    [Reply]

    Editor Reply:

    Yes, St. John’s is located in Queens, New York.

    [Reply]

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SJU Screens “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed”