Posts Tagged ‘Amenábar’

Have you ever had a dream where you do all your usual morning stuff? Eat breakfast, brush your teeth and leave for work. Only then you wake up and have to repeat what you just dreamed about. That happens to César, the main character of the movie Open Your Eyes. With the exception that he continues out the door and drives off to work with his car, only to find he is alone in the world. No cars, no people, just César and an abandoned city. Then he wakes up and finds a woman laying next to him.

The difference between sleep and reality is a question awakened constantly in Open Your Eyes as the main characters life slowly turns into a nightmare. The woman who awakens César is one of his frequent one-night-stands. The rich inheritor’s best friend tells us that César having sex with the same woman twice never happens. He seems to be acting his part when he seduces his best friend’s girlfriend. Unexpectedly for a man who denounces love as stupidity he falls in love with Sofía. After their first night together César misfigures his face in a car accident and turns into a monster. For a man who values his looks above all and concentrates on pleasure this is a catastrophe. Being a millionaire he hires the best plastic surgeons to fix his ruined face but the necessary technology does not exist yet. The best they can do is offer César a mask.

Fakeness and masks repeat constantly in the film. We first encounter masks at Sofía’s flat. To top it off the girl occasionally works as a living statue. Another important element appearing from time to time in the film are tv-commercials about cryonization. Escaping a nightmare into a possible future where plastic surgery can fix his face of course appeals to César.

Soon after the beginning you realize that César is locked up in a mental asylum, where he tells his story to a psychiatrist. The main character insists upon wearing his mask to cover terrible face. As he recollects his past memories and dreams mix. As the title suggests viewers should keep their eyes open from the beginning. The movie steadily turns weirder and shocks the viewer out of the story into considering what the movie exactly is trying to do. This causes you to consider the story in a different light and through that, nothing less than the medium of film itself.

Admittedly Open Your Eyes is at times demanding to watch. Its rich symbolism and film trickery might baffle viewers who have a passing relationship with films. However, for any good friend of cinema with open eyes the film is a rewarding thrillride with a great ending. It might even change the way you watch films. It definitely made me think how the reality of a film is carefully constructed. Ultimately the quickly changing images we love to watch are a created illusion, of which the film’s ending effectively reminds us. “Open your eyes.”


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