Close Your Eyes review – melancholy magic as Víctor Erice addresses his own enigmatic legacy

<span>‘Rumpled, regretful’ Manolo Solo in Close Your Eyes.</span><span>Photograph: New Wave</span>
‘Rumpled, regretful’ Manolo Solo in Close Your Eyes.Photograph: New Wave

A new film by the veteran Spanish director Víctor Erice is cause for celebration, particularly since his latest, Close Your Eyes, is only his fourth feature since his debut, 1973’s exquisite The Spirit of the Beehive. And it’s likely that this picture, about the unexplained disappearance of a movie actor mid-shoot, and a film director who ran out of stories to tell, is, in part, an attempt to address his own enigmatic legacy.

A rumpled, regretful Manolo Solo plays director Miguel Garay, drawn from his self-imposed exile to participate in a TV investigation into the vanishing actor, his friend Julio Arenas (José Coronado), star of his unfinished second (and final) film. It’s a beguiling drama that contrasts the mirage-like quality of hopes against the more tangible solidity of regrets. But while there’s a melancholy magic to it all, the spell is stretched rather thinly over the long running time.