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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Fernando Fernán Gómez,
José María Prada
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 »
Storaro's camera plays well Saura's cuasi-surrealism
Life is but a series of fortuitous events called destiny. Francisco Goya lived a life fraught with fateful occurences which drove him to despair, and ended his days in Bordeaux. His three-times interpreter, Francisco Rabal, little knew as he made this film that he too would end his days in the same city. Such is the coincidence of life and death.
Goya (1999), made as `Goya en Burdeos', hints at these and other casualities in a refined genteel way, notwithstanding the sometimes temperamental mood of the Aragonés painter. The genius of this film is how Storaro's magnificent photography and Saura's gifted and inspired directing, actually brought to life so many of the painter's creations: paintings only seen in Madrid art museums or in books. It was a delight to suddenly recognize in scenes in the film some of these beautiful works, as if magically brought to life by technological tricks, but with so much care.
Rabal's interpretation is superb: it could not have been otherwise, this being the third and last time the old Murcian actor had to take on the task of being Goya. It is also worth mentioning Dafné Fernández, who gave an intelligently picturesque performance; as was to be hoped for after seeing her wonderful part as Fuensanta in `Pajarico' (qv) made one year earlier.
It cannot be denied that Storaro's photography frequently becomes one of the main protagonists in the film's telling. No doubt this is in response to the peculiarities of Saura's directing, and thus, for me, makes a near-perfect coupling. It must also be added that the music employed in the film has been exquisitely selected, first with Roque Baños' own composing beautifully intertwining with pieces by Boccherini, Couperin, Tchaickovsky and Beethoven, as well as by an anonymous 17th Century Spanish composer sounding very much like Luys de Narváez.
A serious film for those who appreciate excursions into historical cultural backgrounds balanced by a stately unhurried production.
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