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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Emilio Martínez Lázaro
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Daniel Giménez Cacho,
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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 brilliantly rich expression of the medium of painting through that of the cinema.
A brilliantly rich expression of the medium of painting through that of the cinema, a rare if not a unique achievement. Another reviewer refers to the "moving painting" of Peter Greenaway, and this film does indeed call to mind The Draughtsman's Contract. The dying painter relives in pictorial terms episodes of his life, artistic, political and personal, in between asking himself the questions "Where am I?" ("¿Donde estoy?"), lost in the streets of Bordeaux at the beginning of the film, and "Who am I now?" ("¿Quién soy ahora?"), as he lies on his death-bed, the two Spanish verbs distinguishing between the physical being and the existential one. The film is articulated to a large degree by Goya's three sources of inspiration, Velázquez (space), Rembrandt (light) and the imagination, but more by Goya's apocalyptic portrayals of the suffering of the Spanish in the Napoleonic Wars after the disillusionment of the French Enlightenment. Goya en Burdeos is to painting what Babettes Gæstebud and The Dead are to the celebratory feast.
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