Christopher Small’s review published on Letterboxd:
A lovely old man movie, totally out of time, about a reignited search for Julio Arenas (José Coronado), an actor who disappeared during the making of La mirada del adiós, the second feature by a celebrated writer, Miguel Garay (Manolo Soto) in 1990. For half of Víctor Erice's Close Your Eyes, his first feature film since 1993's El sol del membrillo, you're thinking this is a pure avant-garde exercise by a distinguished and largely unplaceable artist from another era—completely precious as a lost and recovered artefact nestled within Cannes' otherwise trendy Official Selection—and the other half its like watching a prestige true crime TV drama, a little soapy and visually undistinguished. But that's the pleasure of the late films of great filmmakers; we should be grateful that a figure like Erice is making films in 2023, preserving through his very being certain stylistic tics and impulses that don't exist out in the wild anymore.
It's a little confusing that the film-within-a-film Garay is making looks so campy, since ultimately Close Your Eyes's emotional catharsis hinges on those images having some connection to the world of the film proper. But the contemporary world of Erice's film (it is set in 2012) is so richly imaged and rigorously structured that its easy to forgive many things. Frankly speaking, there's just a good deal of pleasure in find oneself in Erice's hands as he shuffles and reorganises the passing of time, people travelling from one town to another, lives changing, words exchanged, plans hatched.
Any film that recreates my all-time favourite movie scene beat by beat gets an automatic two stubby thumbs up from me.