Goya’s Ghosts (2006)
Goya's Ghosts is a 2006 historical drama film directed by the well-known Spanish filmmaker Milos Forman. The movie explores the life of Francisco de Goya, a famous Spanish painter, and his relationship with the Spanish Inquisition during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The film stars an impressive cast that includes Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, and Stellan Skarsgard. The performances in the movie are exceptional, particularly those of Bardem and Portman. Bardem brings a brooding intensity to his portrayal of Goya, while Portman is convincing as the tortured and vengeful Ines. Skarsgard also gives a strong performance as Lorenzo, a man who is torn between his loyalty to the Inquisition and his love for his daughter.
Can a work of art kill? (if it's a painting of such dimensions that, for some reason, you have to swallow it; if it's a statue that falls on your head or a pike like the one in a Square where you accidentally slip... Without a doubt! However, this movie tells us that things could be done differently... through ricochet) Goya, the official painter of the Spanish court, creates a fruitful moment in the portrait of the beautiful young Ines. He does it well... really really well. She is a member of an important family of merchants named Bilbatua (who else could have afforded the services of the royal painter?), and the portrait is wildly pleasing to a high prelate: Brother Lorenzo Casamaeres (there is a little play here, because Lorenzo falls in love with the work of art and not with the girl, but this triggers his interest in Ines, who takes on the feeling).
These are turbulent times in Europe of that era, and the Inquisition is going through the most important period of its evolution. Many intrigues, backstage, plots and conspiracies, executions, summary trials, and eventually tortures. Fifteen years pass. A girl is born who becomes a prostitute. Brother Lorenzo is executed by those whom he had judged and condemned in another stage, and Spain falls under the French, and the English, and then regains itself, rehabilitating its institutions, including the Inquisition. Goya is a silent witness to everything that happens.
Ines goes mad... The final scene in which she accompanies the carriage carrying the lifeless body of the one who cursed her, followed a few steps behind by an old, deaf, helpless Goya with his share of guilt, is of great effect. Miloš Forman, an uneven director, achieves an elegant adaptation that is a pleasure to watch. If Forman was capable of an Amadeus and the magical One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, he also achieved "performances" at the opposite pole through other (sub)productions.
I would say that this film is somewhere in the middle, and the screenplay saves many of the director's mistakes, which I attribute to haste, but which could also belong to subtleties that I did not know how to decipher. However, the production imperatively demands the attention of the viewer to detail, because the care with which each shot is adapted to the composition style of the famous author of The Horrors of War (and the sentence: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters) is impressive.
On the other hand, the charm of Natalie Portman contrasting with the horrors that make up the production is an ideal invention, as well as the editing of some key scenes. I also liked the solutions to compressing some subplots that manage to strengthen the narrative and give the film smoothness, making it equally interesting in each of its moments. Overall, Goya's Ghosts is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores themes of power, corruption, and the human capacity for cruelty. A fascinating insight into a dark chapter in Spanish history, and serves as a reminder of the dangers of religious fanaticism and the importance of tolerance and understanding.
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