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El Greco More at IMDbPro »

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25 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

It is WORTH the cinema!!

Author: xerogo from Greece
28 November 2007

First of all, I don't think it is at all a DVD movie but an enjoyable film to watch at the cinema. The aesthetic of the film captures the audience's attention throughout the film. I personally think that the photography is excellent in the film as well as the direction. It tends to be a bit slow and without a lot of action but the audience understands that the film is not about action as it is an artistic and cultural film that tries (successfully) to bring out the souls of the characters to touch the audience. I agree that Dimitra Matsouka's performance was not strong enough but the performance's of Nick Ashdon, Laia Marull and especially Juan Diego Botto are well appreciated. The scenery and costumes are an accurate capture of the time period and beautiful to watch on screen. The plot is original as there are certain twists that one would not expect (for example El Greco's relationship with women)and the music is exceptional. The film is generally a great attempt on showing the potential quality of the Greek film industry throughout Europe. I think that there must be a good reason for 'El Greco' already winning 8 awards including best director in the Thessaloniki film festival!!

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12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Music & Cinematography excellent

Author: sallyheard from Greece
2 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I found the film annoying and typically absent of a dialogue worthy of an adult mind. El Greco's paintings have been a source of intellectual debate both on political and artistic merit for all who have been inspired by them. This film strips the artist of any personality worthy of interest let alone 'greatness'. As a film I found it a flamboyant show of theatrical characterisations intent on visually seducing the audience, instead of intellectually rousing them. It has been a long time since I burst out laughing at a scene intended to make me weep, and for this I feel strangely ashamed. Contradictions run rife throughout the film ending with a grand finale close to comical. I hasten to add that the leading actors did the best they could and there were two memorable scenes for me - but I came away feeling that a particular style of theatre had been taken to the screen - with a script gasping for help!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Greek/Spanish co-production about the prestigious painter of the Spanish Renaissance , Doménikos Theotokópoulos , including a magic score by Vangelis

Author: ma-cortes from Santander Spain
10 October 2016

An interesting story about the notorious painter , architect , sculptor and architect Domenicos Theotokopoulos, known to the world as "El Greco". El Greco was born in Crete , which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art . He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. His works painted in Italy were influenced by the Venetian Renaissance style of the period, with agile, elongated figures reminiscent of Tintoretto and a chromatic framework that connects him to Titian . In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings. El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century . El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers .

This is a costumer partially based on facts but predominates the slow-moving melodrama . Historic film about an uncompromising artist , El Greco/Nick Clark and his relationship to lovers and powerful people from Renaissance . The picture relies heavily on the loving relationships between El Greco and his women as Francesa/Dimitra Matsouka and Jerónima De Las Cuevas/Laia Marull as well as the patronage and subsequent confrontation to Niño De Guevara , the General Inquisitor/Juan Diego Botto , that was painted on a famous painting. This is a moving biography of the prestigious painter and fighter for freedom , including some fictitious elements . Glamorously as well as sumptuously photographed by Stavrou , and being lavishly produced by Greece and Spain . The motion picture was professionally directed Yannis Smaragdis and filmed with a pervasive melancholy that does for slow drama .

The picture based on actual events , these are the followings : In 1577, El Greco migrated to Madrid, then to Toledo, where he produced his mature Works . At the time, Toledo was the religious capital of Spain and a populous city . In Rome, El Greco had earned the respect of some intellectuals, but was also facing the hostility of certain art critics . During the 1570s the huge monastery-palace of El Escorial was still under construction and Philip II of Spain was experiencing difficulties in finding good artists for the many large paintings required to decorate it. El Greco met Benito Arias Montano, a Spanish humanist and agent of Philip; Pedro Chacón, a clergyman; and Luis de Castilla, son of Diego de Castilla, the dean of the Cathedral of Toledo. El Greco's friendship with Castilla would secure his first large commissions in Toledo. He arrived in Toledo by July 1577, and signed contracts for a group of paintings that was to adorn the church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo in Toledo and for the renowned El Espolio. By September 1579 he had completed nine paintings for Santo Domingo, including The Trinity and The Assumption of the Virgin. These works would establish the painter's reputation in Toledo. El Greco did not plan to settle permanently in Toledo, since his final aim was to win the favor of Philip and make his mark in his court. Indeed, he did manage to secure two important commissions from the monarch: Allegory of the Holy League and Martyrdom of St. Maurice. However, the king did not like these works and placed the St Maurice altarpiece in the chapter-house rather than the intended chapel. He gave no further commissions to El Greco. The exact reasons for the king's dissatisfaction remain unclear. Some scholars have suggested that Philip did not like the inclusion of living persons in a religious scene; some others that El Greco's works violated a basic rule of the Counter-Reformation, namely that in the image the content was paramount rather than the style. Philip took a close interest in his artistic commissions, and had very decided tastes; a long sought-after sculpted Crucifixion by Benvenuto Cellini also failed to please when it arrived, and was likewise exiled to a less prominent place. In any case, Philip's dissatisfaction ended any hopes of royal patronage El Greco may have had . Lacking the favor of the king, El Greco was obliged to remain in Toledo, where he had been received in 1577 as a great painter. While "Crete gave him life and the painter's craft, Toledo a better homeland, where through Death he began to achieve eternal life" . On 12 March 1586 he obtained the commission for The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, now his best-known work. During these years he received several major commissions, and his workshop created pictorial and sculptural ensembles for a variety of religious institutions, as the commission of The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception and for the Hospital of Saint John the Baptist , creating notorious paintings as The Disrobing of Christ , The Assumption of the Virgin , THe Holy Trinity , The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception .. In his mature works El Greco demonstrated a characteristic tendency to dramatize rather than to describe and the strong spiritual emotion transfers from painting directly to the audience . El Greco's preference for exceptionally tall and slender figures and elongated compositions, which served both his expressive purposes and aesthetic principles, led him to disregard the laws of nature and elongate his compositions to ever greater extents, particularly when they were destined for altarpieces .

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Definitely worth seeing, in spite of downsides

Author: caldonas from Greece
21 June 2008

Just as this film has a lot of elements that can easily make it aspire to greatness, it is not without visible flaws and weak moments. Nonetheless in the end, it rises above its own flaws, leaving a very positive after-taste. I just feel sad I did not see this film earlier in the theaters, and only managed to see it recently on DVD. At the same time, I feel sad this film didn't take it one step further and become what it was so close to achieving.

For people waiting to explore the artist's character in-depth, understand his passions or his motivation, or admire a kaleidoscope that unlocks the artist's mind to the viewer, disappointment awaits in the corner, because this film does not explore those elements to a satisfactory level.

Nonetheless, the film does not really boast any of that, to start with. The story of it is staged early and very deliberately in the scheme of a broader conflict between light and darkness, and the portrayal of the artist is shown almost entirely through that prism. And it delivers this very well.

Right from the start, an intense scene puts us right in the proper atmosphere, and then the movie continues with a narrative that eventually carries us out seamlessly back into the initial scene, adding context, and appropriately coloring the characters in the meantime.

Costumes are fitting, although their quality ranges, and sometimes poor costume quality sneaks in. But not something that detracts from the bigger picture.

The music is great, of course, and adds a lot of value to the film.

The scenes are seamless and tie well with each other and the narrative that goes on in the background. The scenery is also attractive and adds a lot of character.

The actual script seems to have a lot of weak points (though that is not uncommon in Greek productions, and with this one it is still miles ahead of others).

The first serious issue of the script is the mix of languages. It probably started as a good idea, trying to portray linguistic differentiation, but soon enough, poor accents, weak dialogue (perhaps cut down even further so as not to linguistically challenge the actors) happens almost the entire time and detracts from the film.

The second issue is the dialogues themselves. The actors are great, and perfectly capable of portraying a lot more than the dialogues allow them to say. This is a shame.

The script's saving grace is the English narrative, which is respectable, and the ability of the actors (and the director, sometimes) who manage to convey with emotion what the script's words aren't adequate to show.

The film is otherwise well-laid out, despite some lighting issues (some scenes feel far too bright), and sound issues (audio ranges too wildly between near-whisper and wild shouting and banging).

I didn't have to try to overlook the shortcomings of this film in order to enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed watching it, and was glad I did, despite all the shortcomings.

Oscar nomination? Heh, perhaps not. But definitely a respectable, enjoyable film with some good moments, that is certainly worth watching.

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14 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Big budgets don't make great movies always.

Author: kewos from United Kingdom
12 January 2009

I wanted to see this movie. The one with the highest budget in all Greek history. Well.. I still don't knowing where all that money was spent.

It lacks of almost everything. No good dialogues, good actors wasted due to a, being good, a very poor script. It's a voice in off who tells you most part of the story... why do you want actors then I asked.

Probably the customs, colours and music is the only thing you can remember after watching it but not enough. I wanted to stop the movie several times cause is so superficial. You don't get involved at all with any of the characters, not with the story. Actually you don't care about El Greco after 20 min watching it.

I could feel the same frustration when I saw "El Capitán Alatriste". The Spanish movie with the highest budget ever in this country. Very, very disappointing. El Greco is, with all my respects, The Greek-Crap.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Could be better

Author: giaourti from United Kingdom
26 April 2009

Honestly i was expecting something much better. El Greco is one of the most important painters of Renaissance so, a film about his life should stress that importance. Instead ,we see a poorly written ,poorly acted film whose main focus is the costumes and the scenery. Almost all the actors have a terrible accent, which is understandable for their characters as they are Greeks/Spaniards/Italians etc. But then we have an El Greco, a Greek person mind you, who has a perfect British accent! Casting was poorly done and i'd rather see a Greek actor play El Greco. All in all, the film is watchable, but with all the money put into it, you'd expect something much, much better.

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19 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

A contestant for the "Worst Serious and Expensive Movie Ever"

Author: Ced Wood from Greece
7 October 2008

Well, I guess I never saw such a pathetic movie. The actors are absolutely ridiculous, acting at a tragi-comic level which would be hilarious if it would be volunteer. The directing is absolutely show-off, with a pointless use of multiple huge movements of camera, but without defined subjects, which creates a deep impression of emptiness in any single shot of this movie. To make a Hollywood-like movie doesn't consist only in moving the camera in big panoramic shots showing lots of expensive (though sometimes quite "cheap looking") costumes.

There's no use of the image's depth, no correct framing, it is just a piece of work trying to achieve the aesthetic of the American productions, but without the knowledge of cinema necessary to achieve such a production.

But the worst is still to come: the dialogues, the characters and of course, because they have to act it, the actors.

The guy who plays Titiano is doing quite well... except that he has for the most 3 lines to say. And there's nothing presenting the influence he had on El Greco, whereas he could have lift the movie by his good acting. That's all. All the rest is pathetic.

The dialogues are like coming from a Monthy Python 3rd degree film (where do they find such a tragically bad writer, by the way? Did this guy ever saw "real" movies? Is he watching only Greek serials?), and anyway the actors would certainly not have been able to put good dialogues into live action (at least considering the low performance they achieved all the movie long...).

But the most disappointing part is the characters: the evolution of the relations between the two main characters (El Greco and De Guevara), which could have been interesting, is treated without any nuances (El Greco super white shiny hero and De Guevara super bad black dark guy... the Light on one side and the Shadow on the other... even George Lucas was more subtle in Star Wars when he created the characters of Darth Vador and Luke Skywalker!!! although they were pretty poor characters...;-)

Stays the striking line: "Can light overcome darkness?" Thanksfully, El Greco is dead and will never discover how strong becomes darkness when cinema comes to the hands of such illiterate "artists". Light in this movie? Maybe the light of lovely Crete at the beginning (when it is not cheap computer generated images), and through a window at some point, but that's all. Everything else consists in deep darkness!

I didn't even mention the hilarious (thus tragic, since they are aiming at being serious!) acting of Dimitra Matsouka and Lakis Lazopoulos, who should better stay on the director, the dialogs writer and the script-writer.

TV is a cheap entertainment, cinema is an art. Some people should understand it before waisting money.

El Greco getting an Oscar? Guys, let's be serious: Nyfes was a real movie and didn't get any. Politikh Kouzina was an interesting period movie, and didn't win anything. How could El Greco be even just nominated. It would be insulting the cinema community! Hollywood might produces awful and stupid movies, but at least most of the time they hire guys who know a bit what is cinema!

If "Plan 9 from outer-space" wasn't so unreachable, El Greco could certainly compete for the worst movie ever (at least for the "Worst Serious Expensive Movie Ever").

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

El Greco's 'Portrait of a Cardinal' is PROBABLY (and is still not confirmed as of today!!) that of Cardinal Fernando Nino de Guevara - c1600

Author: ursulahemard from Australia
7 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hailed by the Greek Film Industry as a masterpiece and having received so many prices, I was rather disappointed. Based on a biographical novel by a Greek writer of the 20th century, El Greco's life is very much fictionalised and a tad distorted. The entire plot is misleading from facts right from the beginning: it starts in a prison cell, where El Greco is writing down his life whilst awaiting a Spanish Inquisition hearing after being apparently of blasphemy.. But, this never happened. The painter has never been accused by the Tribunal of the Holy Office, but he was invited a few times as a translator to Greek prisoners. Which obviously makes sense as El Greco made Toledo, Spain, his home until his death, where he produced most part of his work, inclusive so many with religious themes. He would have never been able to do so if he would have been in conflict with the Grand Inquisitor of Spain, Nino de Guevara. This historical and biographical inaccuracy made me already so angry that I might be a bit biased in judging the rest of the movie. The movie is very slow and although I normally like voice overs, this actors intonations are blunt and dragging. We learn about El Greco's cretan origins; his fleeing from a rebellion to Venice; his meeting of Titian; some interactions with existed real life characters, and ultimately his settling down in Toledo, Spain; his relationship with Jerónima de Las Cuevas, his common law wife and the mother of his only son. It looks that these biographical facts are accurate. This is a pompous romantic costume drama with some action for sure, which was the part I liked best, but not enough paintings elaborated. The soundtrack by Greek electronic composer Vangelis creates a modern atmosphere which again, gives the movie a rather HBO-series effect than a big screen Film Festival favourite. All in all, B+ for effort only … but could have been much better. Should have been much better! What a genius of a man, with a very interesting life as it is, to make a movie about his life if they only would stick to the true story and use his colours and lights and many many of his paintings!

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22 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

There is talk about the film getting an Oscar, I don't see how.

Author: konstancev from Greece
1 November 2007

I was as much excited about watching this movie as i was disappointed when i finally watched it. There is talk about the film getting an Oscar, i don't see how, it had no depth, the characters seemed out of place, there was no built up in their relationships with each other. This is true in many parts of the film like in the case of Titiano El Greco's mentor. The part of Titiano was played by an extraordinary Greek actor whose lines weren't more than 3. There should have been more fire between the student and the mentor, more dialogue more give and take, unfortunately Moustakas wasn't let to demonstrate his enormous talent and to add to the film as much as he could have. This is very much the case with el Greco and Guevara who kept calling each other "old friend" with irony of course. Almost nothing was shown about their relationship and about their opposite philosophies. The movie kept jumping decades forward without even scratching the surface of the two characters psyche which is a shame because the interaction of the two could have been extremely interesting and stimulating. All in all it was a movie with nothing but beautiful bright colours,great music but no heart.

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decent sketch

Author: Kirpianuscus from Romania
5 May 2016

sketch of portrait. superficial, pathetic, protected by music by Vangelis and the customs. each of the last represents the virtue of film who saves it to be a fiasco. in fact, only sin is the ambition to create a memorable film about the most important Greek painter from art history of Spain. the theme is generous, the possibilities to define Domenikos Teotokopoulos as hero of his period - too many. but the script is just a collection of clichés. the choice of Manichean way is far to be inspired. the use of ambiguity and inaccuracy not serves the cause in better manner. the dialogs are , in many scenes, fake. the speeches of El Greco front of his judges is far to be convincing for public. something essential missing. a pillar, maybe an axis. and except Sotiris Moustakas as Titian, nothing does the film to be more than cold dish. the desire of actors to give coherence to roles is closed by the not most inspired script and the director who choose a sketch not a, poor El Greco !

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