Movie Monday: Los ojos de Julia (Guillem Morales, 2010)

As you may know, besides being an English to French translator, I also translate from Spanish. As a way to keep in touch with my source language, I regularly watch foreign movies. It’s a great way to discover some new words and especially some new details about the cultural aspect of Hispanic countries. On Mondays, I will thus post a review of a film I have watched during the previous week. This idea was inspired by Sarah Pybus’ Kino to Cinema blog as well as Rachel Malcolm’s Francofille blog.

My first review will be about Guillem Morales’s Los ojos de Julia. Julia (Belén Rueda) and her twin sister (also Belén Rueda) both suffer from a degenerative eye disease. When Julia doesn’t hear from her twin sister, she decides to visit her, only to find her hanging from a rope in her basement. But Julia doesn’t believe Sara could have committed suicide and starts thinking that someone pushed her to kill herself. As Julia is slowly losing her sight, she begins to feel someone watching her, following her every step of her journey that will lead her to discover what really happened to her sister.

I remember reading about this movie a few years ago in a cinema magazine, but couldn’t recall much about what the author of the review thought of it. I was intrigued by the story and decided to watch it with new eyes (no pun intended). What struck me the most in this movie was the director’s choice to make us feel as visually deficient as Julia by using specific camera shots and amplified sounds. His use of light and darkness as a metaphor for Julia’s condition is simply brilliant. There is also the feeling of constantly being watched which makes the viewer feel slightly paranoid. The acting is also very good – Belén Rueda excels in the horror genre (even though this is more of a thriller than a horror movie) and Lluís Homar is very believable. This is certainly not a movie for the faint of heart (I had to turn down the volume and minimize the video player window quite a number of times) but it offers a number of unexpected twists.

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