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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
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"The Naked Maja" is one of my favorite movies because of the historical content, and it stars two of my favorite actors, Anthony Franciosa as the idealistic artist Francisco Goya and Ava Gardner as the ill-fated Duchess of Alba.
The story begins before 1800 when the works of philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau are changing the social thought of Europe. According to Rousseau's philosophy, all people have dignity and worth and should have freedom of thought. The philosophy also has introduced belief in personal fulfillment, freedom of expression, and self determination, which ultimately led to the French and American Revolutions in the late 18th century and revolutions throughout Europe by 1850.
Because the Duchess of Alba embraces Rousseau's philosophy, she is condemned by the "old school" of monarchist Spain that clings to old ideas of a rigid social class and dictatorial views.
Upon seeing the film, the viewer might be inspired to look at prints of Goya's works and see how he expressed ideas of equality and compassion for humanity in his art. By doing so, one will understand the film in a greater context.
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