Spanish Beatlemania movie wows film fest

Spanish Beatlemania movie wows film fest
Lennon really did spend time in Almeria in 1966 acting in the movie "How I Won The War". While there, he wrote the psychedelic classics "Strawberry Fields Forever". Photo:YouTube
A new film about "Beatlemania" under the Franco dictatorship entertained critics at the San Sebastian film festival on Tuesday, recounting how the British band's songs inspired one ordinary Spaniard during dark times.

"Living Is Easy With Your Eyes Closed" by Spanish director David Trueba tells the story of Antonio San Roman, a small-town schoolmaster who teaches his pupils English by playing them Beatles songs.

When Beatles star John Lennon comes to act in a film being shot in the southern Spanish city of Almeria, the schoolteacher sets out on a road trip, hoping to meet his hero, and picking up two young hitchhikers on the way.

The real-life tale, a fable of rebellion in a socially and sexually repressed Spain, drew laughs and applause from the audience on Tuesday at the San Sebastian Festival, one of Europe's top cinema events.

Spanish director David Trueba (2L) poses with the cast. Photo: Rava Rivas/AFP

Lennon really did spend time in Almeria in 1966, acting there in the movie "How I Won The War".

While there, he wrote one of The Beatles' psychedelic classics, "Strawberry Fields Forever" – although he is said to have taken the title of the song from a place in his native city of Liverpool.

"If one thing inspired me in John Lennon's visit to a country like Spain in the 1960s, it was that he represented the working class of Liverpool and had managed to rise up in a country as class-bound as England," Trueba, 44, told reporters after the screening.

"Just his mere presence in Spain, with what he radiated, in itself generated a kind of revolution and encouraged lots of youngsters."

The film screened in competition for the Golden Shell award, the top gong at the festival in the northern Spanish city, which runs until September 28th.

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