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Den of inanity
The Ivory Tower  (Topics: 304 - Posts: 1,820)
Page  1
Goya's ghosts
Posted by Igelkotten Dec 11, 2009, 01:09
Goya's ghosts, a film directed by Milos Forman and produced by Saul Zaentz.

Oh dear, where do I begin?

This film is an attempt at portraying the later life and times of Goya, through some extraordinary events involving people close to him -or perhaps, people he would want to be close to. Goya is played by Stellan Skarsgård of all people, who mostly wanders around and looks distracted for most of the time. Javier Bardem plays the big, bad inquisitor who wanders around in a black cape and looks broodingly around him. Ines (played by Natalie Portman) is the beautiful daughter of a rich merchant, who is suspected of jewry and heresy by the inquistion and thrown into prison, where she is interrogated by Javier Bardem in such a manner that she eventually becomes pregnant. Meanwhile, Stellan Skarsgård runs around and is a generally artistic genious who anxiously tries to be nice to everyone and stay uninvolved, and paints scandalous portraits.

Then, enter the french revolution, and cut-scene to 15 years later. Natalie Portman now plays her own daughter, who has become a prostitute and of course gets picked up by Javier Bardem's character -who, by the way, has changed his allegiances somewhat. Then, Napoleon invades, and everything is thrown into turmoil. Oh, and Goya walks around and is an artistic genious who tries to be nice to everyone and stay uninvolved, but now he has gone deaf, too.

Diverse alarums and excursions ensue, after which we end up with suitably Forman-ish emotional turmoil and philosophical musings over fate and life.


Sure, Javier Bardem can and does look and act really terrifying, and we do get to see a bit of naked Natalie Portman in chains, and there are some mass scenes that are very skillfully done, and the photography is in parts really beautiful, but where is the story? The Ariadne thread? The motivations of the characters, especially Goya? To me, it all felt a bit too much like "Hey, let's make a beautiful costume drama, with a bit of morality and existential philosophy to throw in, and since this is a serious movie, we can show some tits and ass, too, so let's get a young actress in there somewhere. Oh, and to show that we are really high-brow intellectual, lets throw in a bunch of references to Luis Bunuel movies, too!"

As I said, yawn. When you consider how much passion and emotion there is in the art of Goya, it is rather ironic that they have managed to make such a passion-less and lukewarm film.

Oh, and it does get quite a bit tiresome to always have Spain in the early modern age portrayed as a land of primitive bigotry and scheming, opressive cardinals.

Still, a naked Natalie Portman in chains is a naked Natalie Portman in chains, so I suppose there are those that might find some redeeming value in the movie. Me, I'll probably use the disc as a drinks coaster.

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