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 »
A fascinating, evocative study of one of the greatest artists of all time.
As an art historian I found this film fascinating. It seemed to be true to its subject - a complex, gifted and liberal artist - and also an authentic study of the contrasts of late C18th Spain. It also provided interesting and accurate source material for anyone studying the art of the period and I use my off-air video of it to bring the life of this wonderful and under-rated artist to my students. It was a warm tribute to a man who was full of vigour even in old age, but did not over-romanticise him, showing us the flaws in his character as well as his innate humanity. The film worked well as drama, using good cinematic technique to underpin the story of an exciting and unusual life in a pivotal period of Western history. It also used the fantastic aspects of Goya's imagination to underline the paradoxes of his life. This is a typical European art house movie, of a type rarely made in the US or Britain, but non-specialist film watchers should not feel alienated by that. It is intelligent, witty, elegant, superbly acted (Paco Rabal in one of his last films is terrific - he was Goya to the inch), beautifully crafted, intense and dramatic. What more could we want from a movie?
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