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The painter Goya becomes involved with the Spanish Inquisition when his muse, Ines, is arrested by the church for heresy. Her father, Thomas, comes to him hoping that his connection with Brother Lorenzo, whom he is painting, can secure the release of his daughter. Written by
A film by Milos Forman is always an event. This will probably not remain as one of the best in his career, and was surrounded by a level of controversy, not the least among critics who received it very differently. Yet, it is certainly a film to watch.
The story actually does not have Goya (Stellan Skarsgård) in the center. It is rather the story of a corrupt morality policeman of the 18th century (Javier Bardem) imprisoning a young girl (Natalie Portman) on the unjust suspicion of practicing Judaism in secret. It is the story of a police state built on social injustice relying on pretended moral puritanism in order to save the system. This happens at the price of huge human suffering like the drama in the center of the story, and here is the painter as a witness, living the dilemma of becoming involved as a human or remaining a witness as an artist. We know what path Goya chose.
I was not unhappy neither with the acting, nor with the story line, although it is a little bit too melo-dramatic and too much prone to coincidences. Forman is not so much focused on the drama or better say melo-drama, or even in the historical detail, although he seems to be on familiar ground getting back to the period in 'Amadeus'. What he is busy with seems to be more re-creating some of Goya's paintings and prints and tracing back the origin of inspiration of these masterpieces. In a way the film can be read as justification of the choice Goya made in life.
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