Goya in Bordeaux

DVD - 2000 | Spanish
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In Bordeaux, France, in the early 1800's, Goya suffers from strange visions and nightmares. Goya reflects on his tumultuous career: a love affair with the beautiful Duchess of Alba and the evil crusade of Napoleon's French army.
Publisher: [New York, N.Y.] : Sony Pictures Classics ; Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Video, [2000]
ISBN: 9780767858700
Branch Call Number: DVD ADULT
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (105 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 insert
Alternative Title: Goya in Bordeaux
Goya en Burdeos


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Feb 13, 2017

Not so much a biopic as a dying man’s parade of fanciful recollections, Carlos Saura’s stagey production is set in 1828 where artist Francisco Goya, once the toast of the Spanish court, now living in French exile for his outspoken liberal ideals. Memories are never linear and Saura tries to convey this stream of consciousness with some highly theatrical conceits—walls become transparent, paintings come to grotesque life, and the enfeebled Goya walks side by side with his younger, more fiery self past a series of ethereal lithographs. Saura seems more fascinated with the artist’s troubled mind, warped by illness, personal tragedies, and wartime horrors, than he is with examining historical watersheds. As the lights in Goya’s room either dim or burst into blinding radiance figures from his past march nonchalantly by, sometimes blending into a painting sometimes fading into air, and even Napoleon’s murderous rampage across the Spanish countryside becomes a mere host of models writhing against watercolour backdrops. And cutting through these visual excesses a wordy script delivers monologues on everything from the dangerous power of creativity to government’s inherent corruptibility. “The imagination without reason brings forth impossible monsters…” states Goya at one point as his own oil-painted demons glare from the walls of his rented manor. Sure to turn many off with its arty indulgences and meandering storyline, but as a visual experiment it certainly grabs one’s attention. The lush historical touches and glut of baroque music don’t hurt either.


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