With EIFF over for another, here’s our final round-up of films.

Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

David Trueba/ Spain/ 2013/ 108 mins

After Blancanieves, another big winner at the Goya Awards (Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars) screening at EIFF is this warm and funny road movie with hints of Wild Strawberries and Y Tu Mama Tambien.  Beatles-obsessed teach Javier Cámara travels to Almeria to try and meet his hero John Lennon who is in the region filming a movie.  Along the way, he picks up pregnant teenager Natalia de Molina and runaway Francesc Colomer.  The dynamic between the characters is delightful and it makes for better use of the Fab Four as a plot motivation than another of the films at EIFF.

★★★★☆

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Stacie Passon/ Ireland USA/ 2018/ 100 mins

This adaptation of Shirley Jackson‘s final novel is much more faithful to the source material than the recent Haunting of Hill House.  Burgeoning scream queen Taissa Farmiga and Alexandra Daddario are the Blackwood sisters, who live in splendid isolation in the outskirts of a Vermont town.  Shunned by the locals as Daddario’s Constance is suspected of causing a family tragedy six years earlier.  Stacie Passon keeps every emotion as strained and tight as piano wire as Sebastian Stan‘s grasping cousin threatens to drive a wedge between the sisters.  Part melodrama, part Hammer-inflected psychodrama, this is a claustrophobic joy.

★★★★☆

Volcano

Roman Bondarchuk/ Ukraine Germany/ 2018/ 106 mins

Roman Bondarchuk’s surreal comedy nightmare operates on the same Kafka-esque mode compatriot Sergei Loznitsa‘s Donbass.  Somehow though, Donbass‘ unconnected vignettes feel more coherent than this episodic crawl through the backwaters of the country.  Luka (Serhei Stepansky) is an interpreter accidentally abandoned on a mission to the Crimea.  His quest to get home takes him through various befuddling, dangerous and weird encounters.  When it hits the spot it frustrates more than the frequent dull sections as Volcano gives the impression that it should have been great.

★★☆☆☆

Her Job

Nikos Labôt/ Greece France Serbia/ 2018/ 90 mins

There’s a subtle tragedy at the heart of Her Job in that the mousey Panayiota’s (Marisha Triantafyllidou) first taste of independence comes through a dead-end cleaning job.  Still, she takes to it with both hands and it’s hard to grudge her as much time away from her awful family as she can grab.  Her Job nods at issues of domestic subjugation and the crippling economic instability suffered by Greece but it amounts to nought but a shrug.  Not funny enough, sad enough or inciteful enough to make more than a fleeting impression, despite an endearing and spirited lead turn.

★★☆☆☆