Francisco Goya (1746-1828), deaf and ill, lives the last years of his life in voluntary exile in Bordeaux, a Liberal protesting the oppressive rule of Ferdinand VII. He's living with his ...
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Daniel Giménez Cacho,
Francisco Goya (1746-1828), deaf and ill, lives the last years of his life in voluntary exile in Bordeaux, a Liberal protesting the oppressive rule of Ferdinand VII. He's living with his much younger wife Leocadia and their daughter Rosario. He continues to paint at night, and in flashbacks stirred by conversations with his daughter, by awful headaches, and by the befuddlement of age, he relives key times in his life, particularly his relationship with the Duchess of Alba, his discovery of how he wanted to paint (insight provided by Velázquez's work), and his lifelong celebration of the imagination. Throughout, his reveries become tableaux of his paintings.Written by
Strange coincidence: the actor Francisco Rabal not only plays the old Goya but in real life also died in Bordeaux, in 2001, two years after premiering the film. See more »
In some copies on the film, when Goya's daughter Rosario is showing him her drawing, sitting on an easel in the background we see "La lechera de Burdeos/The Milkmaid of Bordeaux", one of the artist's last paintings. The image we see is reversed - the milkmaid is facing to the right and in the original she faces to the left. This is so due to the fact that the negative of some DVDs and some release prints is inverted in a brief middle section of the film that includes this scene. Another scene is that in which he is commissioned to paint the frescoes of San Antonio de la Florida Chapel. See more »
Artistically wonderfull, but a bit too much cliche
The visual appeal of the film is exceptionally strong, from costuming to the sparse Jarmanesque sets, to the period settings. The part of Goya is superbly played. Yet too often the character's, mostly that of Goya himself, stoop to uttering banal platitudes about art, about freedom, about life.
There is also a bit too much docu-nonsense in the film. Surely with the advent of the Biography channel one need not waste precious feature film time rehearsing an Art-101 bio of the man. One can find that elsewhere. What a waste.
Still for the look and mood of the film and the quality of acting, I'd recommend it pretty strongly.
I also recommend watching this film close on the heels of Jarman's Carravagio in order to understand why films about art really must avoid talking too much. Jarman's film is difficult, but it doesn't annoy one with the hubris of always trying to explain genius the way Saura's film does.
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