Loneliness and the quest for love are universal problems. They are also often interconnected, a need for someone can often be exaggerated by a feeling of solitude. Blue Eyelids (Parpados azules), the feature film debut of Mexican director and screenwriter Ernesto Contreras follows friendless Marina Farfan (Cecilia Suarez), an attractive but extremely shy 30 something. Marina works for Lulita (Ana Ofelia Murguia) in a uniform shop. Every year, the ailing Lulita celebrates her good fortune, which is apparently thanks to a small red bird, by holding a raffle for her staff. Marina finds herself winning an all inclusive dream beach holiday for two, but has no-one to go with. However, after work she is sat in a coffee shop when a long forgotten school friend Victor Mina (Enrique Arreola) spots her. He recognises her instantly but she has no recollection of him. He too is now mid 30s and alone. The rest as they say is history.
The premise of Blue Eyelids may seem fairly bog standard, almost Hollywood, with its obvious two lonely people meet and fall in love storyline. However, there is something distinctly charming about Contreras’ debut. The journey he chooses for his eccentric characters makes it stand out. Suarez and Arreola are consummate performers and their characterisations are both endearing and rateable. The extremity of their isolation is sometimes over played, perfectly exemplified by Marina’s problematic relationship with her sister and only friend Lucia (Tiare Scanda). Lucia initially agrees to the holiday but then allows her greed to distance herself further from her sister. The resentment between the two sisters seems an unnecessary addition.
Subtle observation of two lonely near-strangers discovering themselves and each other.
The strangely moving viewing sensation is both off-putting and compelling at the same time. The film’s pace seems intentionally slow, a reflection upon the pace at which the two primary characters allow themselves to befriend someone. The sense that the two characters just exist as opposed to actually live can sometimes overpowers their likeability. The awkward silences and constant missed connections allowed insight into their real desires and silenced the discomfort caused by their otherwise mundane existences.
Blue Eyelids is not a film to everyones taste. It is extremely observational and at times this makes for awkward viewing. There is no great lesson or hidden message that can be learnt from Blue Eyelids. However, the challenging viewing is worthwhile. The concept of feeling you need to conform to a prizes’ requirement of a holiday for two, that causes Marina to intentionally set out and find herself a partner, even if only for the holiday, allows for subtle observation of two lonely near-strangers discovering themselves and each other.