×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spain Sends ‘Living is Easy’ to Oscars

Carlos Marques-Marcet’s “10.000 KM” and Daniel Monzon’s “El Nino” in the three-film Spanish shortlist

David Trueba’s dramedy “Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed,” a U.S. pickup by Paul Hudson’s Outsider Pictures, is Spain’s foreign-language Oscar candidate.

Based on true events, “Living” turns on Antonio, a mild-mannered English-teacher who uses Beatles’ lyrics in his classes. In Franco’s 1966 Spain, Antonio drives to Almeria in the hope of meeting his hero, John Lennon. “Living” portrays how, in his own modest but affecting way, the teacher and two people he meets along the way – and a teen who has run away from home, and a young pregnant girl –  all rebel against a bigotted, oppressive or just stuck-in-its-ways status quo. 

The movie’s title comes from a line in the Beatles’ song, “Strawberry Fields,” which Lennon wrote while filming “How I Won the War” in Almeria.

Members of the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose “Living” from a three-film shortlist, announced Sept. 10 , which also included Carlos Marques-Marcet’s “10.000 KM” and Daniel Monzon’s “El Nino.”

Featuring a laureled lead performance by Javier Camara, –who starred in Pedro Almodovar’s “Talk to Her” and “I’m So Excited” and is now recognized as one of the best Spanish actors of his generation – “Living” swept February’s Spanish Academy Goya Awards, taking picture, director, original screenplay (Trueba), actor (Camara), original score (U.S. jazz guitarist Pat Metheny) and breakthrough performance by an actress (Natalia de Molina). It also won Palms Springs Festival’s Cine Latino Award and was nominated for four major Platino Ibero-American Film Awards.

David Trueba is one of Spain’s youngish directors who broke through in the ’90s with the best sense of Spain’s recent past, and a sympathy, seen in some of his best films, such as “Soldados de Salamina” and “Madrid 1987,” for those who have born the brunt of history with humor, humanity and good grace.

Living,” a Cristina Huete production for Fernando Trueba P.C., is laced with humor, and also channels the narrative thrust of Westerns: “A solitary plainsman helps some strangers, at the end leaves on his own,” in Trueba’s words.

Spain last won the foreign-language Oscar in 2004 with Alejandro Amenabar’s “The Sea Inside.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    Why Emma Stone Was Haunted by Fear of Vomiting While Shooting 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains a slight spoiler for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The zombie slayers are back! Ten years after Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin first killed dead people walking in “Zombieland,” they’ve reunited for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” “You take stock of your life a little bit,” Stone says of [...]

  • Hereditary

    The Best Horror Films to Stream Right Now

    Good horror movies aren’t always easy to scare up, but with Halloween on the horizon, Variety has compiled a list of some of the best horror films available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. NETFLIX Apostle Cult horror meets religious hypocrisy in this creepy gothic thriller, which follows prodigal son Thomas Richardson, who returns home [...]

  • Brett Gelman

    'Stranger Things' Star Brett Gelman Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse'

    Brett Gelman, best known for his scene-stealing roles in “Fleabag,” “Stranger Things” and “Love,” has joined Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” Jamie Bell and Jodie Turner-Smith are also on board. Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known as John Terrence Kelly, a former Navy SEAL who [...]

  • US director Francis Ford Coppola holds

    Francis Ford Coppola Honored With Prestigious Lumiere Prize by Thierry Fremaux, Bong Joon Ho

    Francis Ford Coppola took the stage to claim the Lumière Festival’s lifetime achievement honor, the Lumière Prize, in a stirring celebration that marked the festival’s 10th edition on Friday night in Lyon, France. The four-time Academy Award winner accepted the prize after a series of video tributes, musical performances and testimonials from family, friends and [...]

  • 'Human Capital' Sells to Vertical Entertainment,

    Liev Schreiber, Maya Hawke's 'Human Capital' Sells Rights to DirecTV, Vertical Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV have jointly acquired the North American distribution rights to “Human Capital,” an official selection of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival from director Marc Meyers. The film stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, and Maya Hawke. The ensemble drama follows numerous interconnected stories surrounding a hit and run, [...]

  • Robert Zemeckis

    Robert Zemeckis in Talks to Direct Live-Action 'Pinocchio' for Disney (EXCLUSIVE)

    Robert Zemeckis is in early talks to direct Disney’s live-action “Pinocchio.” Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz will produce through their company Depth of Field with Weitz penning the script. “Paddington” director Paul King had originally been tapped to direct but had to leave the project for unknown reasons at the beginning of the year. David [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content