Spain, 2006, 114 min.


director.gif (905 bytes)Milos Forman


Stellan Skarsgård - Francisco Goya
Natalie Portman - Ines/Alicia
Javier Bardem - Lorenzo
Randy Quaid - King Carlos IV


 Spain on November 10
and in Germany on November 23, 2006



In 1792 in Spain, amidst the turmoil of the French Revolution, renowned painter Francisco Goya becomes embroiled in the Spanish Inquisition after his beautiful muse Ines is accused of being a heretic and put on trial. Goya must beg for her life to be spared through his old friend Lorenzo, a power-hungry monk who is spearheading the revival of the Inquisition. Ines is imprisoned, tortured, and left to perish in the dungeons, while Lorenzo is eventually banished from the Spanish church. Some twenty years pass, and Goya is at the height of his creativity, but he has become deaf and somewhat insane. The three meet again after the French abolish the Inquisition and set the prisoners free, and Lorenzo becomes Napoleon's chief prosecutor against his former Spanish allies.


button_box.gif (205 bytes)FROM STELLAN

"If you think of me being cast as Goya, it's a pretty silly casting, isn't it? This chubby little Spaniard and this high 6-foot-3 Swede. I started out working with a little extra belly on me to make me a little chubbier. But then the catering was so good, so I didn't have to use it at all. I gained probably 10 kilos during that shoot. It was fantastic Spanish catering. It's a lovely project. Milos Forman is a great director who I've always admired. Jean-Claude Carrière wrote the script, and he's a very intelligent scriptwriter. And I've been able to work with two fantastic actors, Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman. So it was a great shoot. It's not a biopic and it's not about Goya. It's very much from Goya's perspective. It's a fiction, a rather melodramatic fiction, but from Goya's perspective during two periods in his life: right before the French invasion of Spain and also 16 years after that."

Trailer images

button_box.gif (205 bytes)STELLAN'S PERFORMANCE

"Skarsgard's honest face provides the perfect canvas on which to draw his perplexity and bewilderment at the ensuing confusion surrounding him."  ...Natasha Hegde, Inthenews.co.uk

"Skarsgård overcomes his unusual casting and delivers a sensitive and charismatic performance that holds the film together."   ...Matthew Turner

"Bardem is probably the biggest star in Spain, and to persuade him to play a fictional priest and let Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård play Goya no doubt took some doing - including the pretense that Lorenzo is the star of the film. Whatever it took, it was worth it, because both actors are brilliant, and with the fiery Bardem as Goya, it would have been a different picture."  ...Mike LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

"Skarsgård has a refreshing mischievousness about him, which one imagines Goya possessing." ...Steffen Silvis, The Prague Post

"You never even believe that Stellan Skarsgård as the incendiary artist Francisco de Goya, is Spanish. You go with it, though, because Skarsgård brings a cynical twinkle to the role of a subversive who is also a worldly, connected man."  ...Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

"Skarsgård makes Goya into a man with a wonderful smile, an affable manner, and the confidence of an artist who stands outside the rules."  ...Roger Ebert

"Skarsgård has always been an acquired taste, the sort of actor about whom people will comment, 'Well, he’s European…' But he’s really in his element here, and the film is strongest when Skarsgård is at work."  ...Colin Boyd, Bigpictureradio.com

"While Skarsgård is a gifted actor who typically has no trouble mining darkness, he plays Goya as a genial, wide-eyed innocent - a confusing choice that is strikingly at odds with the artist's work."  ...Elizabeth Weitzman, NY Daily News

"Goya, as Skarsgård so convincingly depicts him here, does a whole lot better than Leni Riefenstahl in evincing his artist's neutrality and cluelessness amidst so much evil and social injustice."  ...Doris Toumarkine, Film Journal International

"Skarsgård plays a fine Goya, although the role feels oddly underwritten in order to enforce his outsider ranking."   ...Eric Kohn, NY Press

"The actors mostly flail as they inhabit underwritten characters, Skarsgård being one exception even though his Goya has so little to do."  ...Pam Grady, Reel.com

"Skarsgård's role is underwritten, but the canny Swede who's gained an international reputation invests it with such a wealth of detail that he's a joy to watch. Unfortunately, it only serves to remind us of the flaws in the structure. We keep wanting to see him play a more active role than the predictable 'artist as recorder.'"  ...BBC Collective

button_box.gif (205 bytes)FILM PRODUCTION NEWS

Visit producer Saul Zaentz's web site for a comprehensive history of the film's production from how the idea was conceived to casting to film locations.

4/06: Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe - "The film will be ready at the end of July and, almost certainly, will be released this year. From what I've heard there are very good impressions and the people who have seen the first cut are very enthusiastic. For me, this movie has been very special because of the opportunity to work with Milos Forman and because, in spite of being an American production, it has been tremendously human in its production. It will be unforgettable. Plus, now that I am in Prague, I'm remembering Amadeus and I have Forman's cinema very present in my mind. What I'm really hoping is that Goya's Ghosts turns out to be a wonderful film."

Colpisa - 10/13/05: 
Javier Bardem interview in which he refers to the script by Jean Claude Carriere and Milos Forman as very solid, attractive and intelligent. He says the film has humor, historical background and depicts an accurate portrait of Spanish society at that time. He goes on to say he has thoroughly researched the role but in the end, "my work is more creative than illustrative. I am an actor and I use my imagination."

Filming begins with locations in Madrid, Salamanca, Toledo and Cuenca province in Spain.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)LOCATION PHOTOS


button_box.gif (205 bytes)SYNOPSIS  (spoilers)

Spain 1792 - the Catholic Church is at the height of its powers. The revolution has sent neighbouring France into turmoil and the Spanish church decides to restore order by bringing back the dreaded Inquisition. Spearheading this movement is the enigmatic and cunning priest Lorenzo, a man who seeks power above all.

Lorenzo's friend is Francisco Goya, Spain's most famous artist and portraitist to kings and queens. When his beautiful model Ines is unjustly imprisoned and tortured by the Inquisition, their friendship is put to a test as Goya begs Lorenzo to spare the poor girl's life.

With the torture-ravaged Ines' life in his hands, he rapes her and leaves her to rot in hidden dungeons.

Almost two decades later, just before the French armies invade Spain, Goya is a different man. Having lost his hearing entirely, he has become a dark, disturbed man, almost a ghost of himself. But it is not that he has entered his most famous creative period.

Lorenzo, having been banished by the Spanish church, fled to France, only to return in a new guise as chief prosecutor for Napoleon's regime. Now he can take revenge on the very men that threw him out of Spain - he relishes the opportunity to persecute his old allies of the Spanish Inquisition.

When the French abolish the Inquisition, all its prisoners are set free. Ines, the once beautiful figure of Goya's paintings and dreams, emerges from prison not only having lost her youth but also to find her once powerful family slaughtered in their own home.

The only person she has left in this world is the mad, old Goya. He becomes her protector and she reveals that she gave birth to a girl during her imprisonment.

When Goya discovers Alicia, Ines' daughter, working as a prostitute, he confronts Lorenzo who finally admits having raped Ines and being the father of her child. But mother and daughter are still far from being reunited.

The power map of Europe continues its seismic changes as Spain is once again thrown into chaos when Wellington's powerful army invades to restore Spanish rule. Lorenzo finds himself in desperate need of a new ally of faces a gruesome death sentence.

It is mayhem on the streets of Madrid and Goya continues his desperate struggle to reunite mother and daughter. Lorenzo will stop at nothing to save himself and keep secret the child that haunts him...