(aka 'Take My Eyes')

Directed by Icíar Bollaín
Spain 2003



  Although the subject of domestic abuse hardly seems enticing, former actress Bollaín’s second feature, which swept the board at Spain’s Goya Awards this year, proves so committed and accomplished that any initial misgivings are soon forgotten. We first find Pilar (Laia Marull) sheltering in her sister’s house to evade her violent husband Antonio (Luis Tosar), but when he agrees to attend group therapy, the promise of change encourages her back. Despite everything, she still loves him, and the great tenderness between them at times means that all hope is not lost. Even so, it’s worrying that her increasing independence, boosted by training as a guide to the local art treasures of Toledo, seems only to exacerbate his lurking self-doubt.

Every sinew of Marull’s extraordinary performance tells you of the fear Pilar carries around each day. The way she looks, holds herself, talks even, is utterly believable and wins our deepest sympathy. It’s not all black and white though, since her reluctance to give up hope that her husband will improve plays its part in prolonging the pain, while there’s also an underlying sense that Tosar’s uncontrollable anger (shaped by evident insecurity within Spain’s competitive macho society) also makes him a victim by endangering his closest relationship. Bollaín’s direction eschews empty display, hews close to the excellent performances, and builds tension to a seemingly inevitable moment of explosion. The final confrontation apparently shocked even the actors with its ferocity, but it’s a suitably riveting conclusion to a film that both leaves a knot in your stomach and offers much scope for discussion. Highly recommended.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE


Theatrical Release: September 24th, 2003 - San Sebastian Film Festival

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DVD Review: New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:42:28 
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.94 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: New Yorker Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• "A Love That Kills" featurette

DVD Release Date: November 7th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 40





Typical New Yorker DVD - most likely taken from the opposing standard without conversion first - hence there is evidence of associate artefacts - prevalent combing - although it is fairly fine and unnoticeable if watching via a CRT (cathode ray tube). Slight greenish haze over the image (typical of the transfer process they use). Optional subtitles are good.

There is a supplement - a film board of Canada 20 minute documentary featurette "A Love That Kills" - which discusses partner abuse and the warning signs. This film is quite touching with intensity always looming.

NOTE There is a DVD edition of this film available in the UK (HERE) but I don't know how it compares. 

Gary W. Tooze



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Distribution New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC



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