A portrait of the bloody dynasty that spawned a pope, Alexander VI, as well as the role model for Machiavelli's "The Prince," his son Cesare Borgia, and a legend of femme duplicity, daughter Lucrezia Borgia.
It was the age of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, of enlightened creativity and unparalleled intellectual achievement. But it was also the age of Machievelli, of rampant lawlessness, incessant ... See full summary »
In 1458, five years after the fall of Constantinople to the Moslems, eighteen cardinals meet to elect a new pope. A 27-year-old cardinal learns to play a very dangerous game; his name is Rodrigo Borgia.
The main character is a nameless boy (Juan Jose Ballesta) who was taught to steal wallets by his absent mother. He is able to do the trick effortlessly, using his "earnings" to survive ... See full summary »
Juan José Ballesta,
VÃctor MartÃnez (Santi MillÃ¡n) is a shy 36-year-old man working as an usher at a movie theater. He still lives with his mother (Chus Lampreave). By some mistake, he ends up in a reality ... See full summary »
Italy, 15th century. Rodrigo Borgia is a cunning schemer. For thirty years he has worked himself up in the Roman Catholic Church and now has been elected as pope by the college of cardinals. Borgia hasn't any religious motives though, it's all about power for him. With his papal power he starts a reign of terror, eliminating rivals. A new age will start for the Borgia family, he thinks and his four children are the most important pawns. His beautiful daughter Lucrezia and passive son Jofré are married off to tighten bonds with rival families. The same goes for Juan, who is also made captain of the Vatican army. Rodrigo's firstborn Cesare is now cardinal. He doesn't like it all. As the born fighter of the family, he sees himself most fit in the position of Juan. Cesare gets increasingly dissatisfied as cardinal and is more and more agitated by his family. Then Juan suddenly dies after an assault. Written by
Arnoud Tiele (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I have just finished watching the "versión extendida" of Los Borgia, the 2dvd-set lasting 92+93 minutes respectively. Was it too long? Not really. The story spans about 14 years (1492-1506), has three or four main characters (pope Alejandro VI with his children César, Lucrecia and Juan), each with their own plots and subplots. While I haven't seen any of the previous, shorter versions, I suspect they were too condensed to give much room to characterization and plot development. In fact, had Los Borgia been turned into a television series twice as long, it might have been better still.
What did I like about this film? First, the way it was photographed, the sets and the dresses, that really looked like clothes made for wearing. Second, the acting, which was modest and unobtrusive. The characters -- usually taken to be the personification of all that is evil in the Roman Catholic Church -- were depicted as fully human, at times even likable, without taking away anything of the gruesomeness of their deeds. And that is the third thing I like about this film: the way the makers have turned a black page in church history into a lively period piece, without resorting to cheap pornography, as could easily have been the case.
Some minor quibbles: the DVD does not have any extras, which always is a shame, and subtitles (Spanish or English) are sadly lacking -- a drawback to those who, like me, aren't Spanish and might have difficulties understanding everything that is said. Also, for those that are not well up in history around 1500, it might have helped if the makers had inserted dates every now and then. If I remember correctly only once a specific date (1503) is mentioned by one of the characters.
In conclusion, I really liked this film. It gives a fresh and lively look on a controversial episode in the history of Europe.
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