Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Spain/Italy, 1999. Lolafilms, Italian International Film, RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana, Vía Digital, Televisión Española. Screenplay by Carlos Saura. Cinematography by Vittorio Storaro. Produced by Andrés Vicente Gómez. Music by Roque Baños. Production Design by Pierre-Louis Thevenet. Costume Design by Pedro Moreno. Film Editing by Julia Juaniz. Toronto International Film Festival 1999.
Aging, deaf and suffering from various ailments, painter Francisco Goya (Francisco Rabal) lives the end of his days in self-imposed exile in France. Throughout the course of this visually hypnotic film, he reminisces about his youth, with memories of struggling to become a court painter in Spain and romancing a beautiful woman (Maribel Verdú) who remained a mystery to him for the rest of his days. He also recalls the Napoleonic wars and the effect they had on the terrible, beautiful images he created in his fascinating paintings, which are today considered the birth of modern art. Carlos Saura has a created a whirlwind tribute to the work and art of this enigmatic man, a visually rich film that is brought to life with exceptional skill by Vittorio Storaro’s saturated colour photography. The only drawback is that the emotional experience is as cold and unattached as most of Saura’s films tend to be, and nothing about it stays with you for long after watching it. Still, it’s a terrific opportunity to witness the artistry of this very skilled painter and enjoy a glimpse into his very complicated mind.