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.
Bordeaux, 1828: exiled from his native Spain, Francisco de Goya (Rabal), now aged 82, spends his final days in a house shared with his lover Leocadia (Ramón). He recounts the events of his life to their young daughter Rosarito (Fernández), cueing flashbacks to his time as court painter to King Charles IV, and his passionate affair with the intoxicating Duchess of Alba, who still haunts his thoughts. He describes the torment at going deaf at 46, and his anguish over the destruction of Spain during years of political turmoil, reflected in the tone of his later paintings. This is Saura’s dream project and his dedication to it is evident in the detailed exposition. At once colourful, opulent and dark, it captures the delights and demons of genius. Singular, intriguing, mesmerising, there are rich rewards here for lovers of painting, history and spectacle.
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Subtitles:English, Spanish, French, Russian (idx, sub)