Goya 1746 - 1828
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GOYA'S GHOSTS, also Los Fantasmas de Goya
Updated July 26, 2007
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[Below] Promotional photographs from the film [click to enlarge]
Portman - Portman 2 - Portman 3

Soldiers - Bardem - Goya Movie

The Milos Forman movie is now playing in the United States, though with quite mixed reviews as to its quality:

From Carina Cochino at the New York News:

Goya's Ghosts" is Milos Forman's first film since 1999, but you sincerely wish it wasn't. A logy, rambling period piece, it feels about as far from the spirit of "Amadeus" as it's possible to get with wigs and britches.

Focusing only incidentally on its title character, the new film wanders distractedly around 19th- century Spain in search of a cohesive idea or, failing that, a through line, but it doesn't come up with much beyond the hard-to-dispute observation that power is a gateway to hypocrisy.

In the first half of the film, Goya is marginally involved in some Inquisition intrigue involving Natalie Portman's naked torture and subsequent fondling by a priest. Timely as the themes are, they have little to do with Goya except as they concern his role as a well-connected go-between.

Played by Stellan Skarsgard, the great Spanish painter not only remains a passive bystander in his own story but a credulous dupe besides. It's hard to square this image of a genial but definitely slow-on-the-uptake Goya with his work.

...The biggest ghost in the movie is Goya himself.

A review by Bruce Newman from the Mercury News:

Goya's Ghosts" doesn't even bother to paint for itself a biographical fig leaf: It essentiallyignores the life of the artist considered by many to be the link from Europe's old masters to the modernism made famous a century later by Picasso, another Spaniard.

In fact, the film's Goya (Stellan Skarsgard) is reduced to a role scarcely more exalted than the contemporary courtroom artist.

...There's an unfortunate tendency in this movie for the forces of history to overtake scenes, so that just as Goya is about to have his head handed to him by King Charles, someone rushes in to announce that Louis XIV has been beheaded in France. Similarly, just as Goya is about to meet Alicia (also played by Portman), the illegitimate daughter of Ines, soldiers burst in on them.

"Goya's Ghosts" then tries to bring history full circle with the re-institution of the Inquisition, but by then you're awaiting an announcement about the next troop surge and the rise in sectarian violence.

See the trailer for the film at the official film site here at goyasghoststhefilm.com

The Belfast Telegraph has coverage of the Milos Forman movie and it's star. Article and interview written by Andy Welch:

"It wasn't a period of history I knew much about, hardly anything at all, but I learned all about it prior to filming," Natalie admits. " The only thing I knew about the Spanish Inquisition beforehand was probably from the Monty Python sketch or History Of The World," she laughs.

"I knew Goya's paintings very vaguely - I'd been to the Prado gallery once before, but luckily, because we did all the pre-production work in Madrid, I got to go there every day for a month. There was an art historian that took me around and explained everything to me - it was really quite amazing."

When the offer of the part came through, Natalie didn't have to think very hard about whether to accept it.

"Working with Milos Forman was the biggest draw. I mean, he's one of the all-time greats. When he called I was absolutely over the moon, I was smiling for weeks after.

"He doesn't seem to work much these days, but he's very specific. Look at the work he's done - One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus and Man On The Moon, I loved that.

Complete Web page story at the Belfast Telegraph here.

The BBC is also running news stories on Portman and the release of Goya's Ghost's:

Goya's Ghosts, directed by Oscar-winner Milos Forman, sees her play Ines, the daughter of a Spanish merchant.

Portman plays a mother and daughter in the film

Her beauty leads to her becoming the muse of the painter Goya - but also to her being thrown into jail, only to re-emerge years later as a tortured, broken soul.

She also portrays Ines's daughter, Alicia, who grows up unaware of her mother's ordeal or even her true parentage.

The 25-year-old says she relished the opportunity of such a complex set of characters.

"It was definitely exciting to get the opportunity to play what was effectively three different characters in the same movie," she says.

"I knew that was going to be really difficult but working with Milos Forman was such a great opportunity that I was not going to pass up.

..."With Alicia I was really inspired by the flamenco dancers in Spain. They were just so sexy, fiery and strong.

"They have so much personality. There was one that I saw at a flamenco performance and I just tried to channel her."

Portman says she knew next to nothing about the tempestuous period in which the film was set or about Goya, played by Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard, around whom the film revolves.

The BBC page is here.

The IMDB web site carries a schedule for the Milos Forman bio film about Goya; however, no set date is given for the United States. It was expected to open before the USA Christmas holiday season for the North American theattre market, but is now apparently being pushed into 2007. I contacted Hanway Films, which is the production company for the movie, and below are the release dates for the film which they can confirm:

Spain November 8, 2006
United States July 20, 2007 [limited theatre run]
Germany November 23, 2006
Austria November 24, 2006
Switzerland "French section" January 1, 2007
Switzerland "German Section" November 23, 2006
Switzerland "Italian Section" February 2, 2007
Greece April 5, 2007
Italy April 13, 2007
United Kingdom May 4, 2007
Ireland May 4, 2007
Czech Republic February 1, 2007
Denmark February 2007 (to be confirmed)
Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Feb/ Mar 2007
Netherlands April 12, 2007
Former Yugoslavia March 15, 2007
Poland March 23, 2007
CIS / Baltic States April 6, 2007
France July 18, 2007
Brazil September 7, 2007
Portugal May 31, 2007

Goya's Ghosts

The long, long journey for the Milos Forman and Saul Zaentz bio-movie about Goya seems to be coming to an end, at least as regards getting the film to the United States. (Zaentz and Forman are the team that made the Mozart bio film "Amadeus") Goya's Ghosts has been playing in Europe for months, but United States showings were delayed while distribution was arranged.

The Hollywood Reporter has more of the story:

The Saul Zaentz production, slated for a summer U.S. platform theatrical release, stars Bardem as a member of the clergy during the Spanish Inquisition who becomes obsessed with one of its targets, Goya's muse (Portman). The story follows their personal trials from the late 18th century through the tortured girl's release from prison after Napoleon's invasion of Spain.

"Saul is not only a friend, but a wonderful filmmaker," said Samuel Goldwyn Films CEO Samuel Goldwyn Jr., who was shown the picture by Zaentz several months ago and finalized the deal last week. " 'Ghosts' is a love story and a violent political story and a wonderful woman's story about a fascinating period in history and the effect of the Inquisition's lives as seen through the eyes of Goya. I wish every film we had was as good as this.

Complete article here.

The director of the film Milos Forman talks about the movie with writer Mateo Sancho Cardiel at Expatica magazine:

After seven years of absence from the big screen, Oscar-winning Czech director Milos Forman - of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and 'Amadeus' fame - is a bit nervous about how his new movie about Francisco de Goya will be received in the great master's homeland.

"I'm afraid I might disappoint the Spanish people," the 74-year-old long time U.S. resident said in a telephone interview from his home in New York.

He was talking about 'Goya's Ghosts,' which is set for release on 10 November, and was filmed in and around Madrid in English and starring Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman.

Forman said he became fascinated with Goya, who died in 1828 and is renowned for his works portraying Iberian strife as well sublime depictions of royals, after visiting the Prado Museum in Madrid in the 1980s.

He said he began research on "this person able to give expression to two worlds as distinct as those of portrait of the royal family and those of the Black Paintings".

Late in his life, Goya used oils to paint directly onto the plaster walls of his home, called La Quinta del Sordo, making 14 works that have come to be known as the 'Black Paintings' somewhat dark or gloomy pieces seen by many to represent a shady side of existence.

Forman said he found in the historical period covered by the new film parallels with the persecution rampant in his native Czechoslovakia "when I still lived there."

That was in the 1960s, when the Communist repression of the Prague Spring in 1968 found him working on a project in Paris.

The Washington Post newspaper carries a Reuters article by Elisabeth O'Leary about the opening of the Milos Forman film "Goya's Ghosts" (the dubbed Spanish title is Los Phantasmas de Goya) this week in Madrid, Spain. (To see our page on this movie, go here.)

Forman said he chose Portman at first because he thought she looked like a Goya portrait, The Milkmaid of Bordeaux.

But then he saw the film "Closer" and decided the actress, had enough of a range to play what are effectively three different characters in the film.

Goya himself (played convincingly by a low key Stellan Skarsgard) lived to be 82. He had gone deaf by the age of 46.

He witnessed and painted a gruesome period of European history -- the Inquisition, the French invasion of Spain and the restoration of the monarchy in Madrid by the British.

Goya's paintings depict different social strata over that tumultuous period and it is that role as a faithful observer of history that Forman focuses on, with all the grotesque and brilliant detail for which the painter became famous.

"Of course, because I'm Spanish, I assumed I'd be playing the role of Goya. It seemed the natural thing," award-winning Spanish actor Bardem said in the production notes of the film.

It appears that Warner Brothers will be distributing Goya's Ghosts for the United States market. There is not any mention of this on the Warner Brothers web site (warnerbros.com), but this is what I have heard recently.

The Saul Zaentz Company web site page on the movie here.

Stellan Skarsgard web site on the Goya movie
The website www.stellanonline.com is an "unofficial" home page for the actor who stars as Goya in the upcoming Goya's Ghosts film. It has some information about the film, along with a plethora of photographs.

Goya's Ghosts movie still without distributor for theatre release
The website moviecitynews.com has an article titled "29 weeks to Oscar" which mentions the current state for the Milos Forman/Saul Zantz Goya movie:

The directors I foresee racing are still pretty much familiar awards season names, but a lot of those directors' films have simply become also-rans, some even without being seen. Just a couple of for-instances would be Milos Forman's Goya's Ghosts, which still has no distributor, and Scorsese's The Departed, which is now being positioned as an action movie first and awards movie not at all.

The Milos Forman Goya's Ghosts Movie

Painter Francisco Goya faces a scandal involving his muse, who is labeled a heretic by a monk.
- From the page on the film at IMDB.COM

The revolution has sent neighboring France in turmoil and the Spanish church decides to restore order by brining 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 is unjustly imprisoned and tortured by the Inquisition their friendship is put to the test as Goya begs Lorenzo to spare the poor girl's life.
From the Official production company web site (Hanway Films).

...actress extraordinaire Natalie Portman is set to star in Goya's Ghosts, a Milos Forman film about artist Francisco De Goya, whose muse Alicia (played by Portman) is falsely accused of heresy during the final years of the Spanish Inquisition. Scandinavian actor Stellan Skarsgard will play Goya in the movie, based on a script co-written by Jean-Claude Carriere and Milos Forman.

Egotastic.com has pictures from the movie set here.
The IMDB Motion Picture web site has information here
Wikipedia has information online here.
Article about the Goya's Ghosts film star Natalie Portman here.

Bio film "Goya's Ghosts" to release late 2006
Artnet.com is reporting on the finish of shooting for the upcoming Milos Forman/Saul Zaentz Goya movie. This team produced the 1984 Mozart film Amadeus. The artnet story is here. (HSX has a page about the movie here. The Internet Movie Database page on the movie is here):

Goya’s Ghosts, the Milos Forman-directed film about the life and love of the Spanish painter Francisco Goya y Lucientes, is reportedly set to go for later in 2006, after having finished shooting in Spain in December 2005. Goya is played in the film by Danish actor Stellan Skarsgard, filling a role that reportedly was first offered to Gary Oldman. Natalie Portman plays Goya’s model and muse, who is swept up in the intrigue of the Spanish Inquisition when she is accused of being a heretic by a monk. Javier Bardem is cast as the monk, and King Carlos IV is played by Randy Quaid. 

Photos from the movie
A Natalie Portman fan web site ("Natalie Empire") has posted pictures from the film being made here.

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Natalie Portman (The "Muse")
Milos Forman (Director of the film)
Stellan Skarsgård ("Goya")
Randy Quiad ("King Carlos")

Filmstew.com on the Forman film
"Expect the Spanish Inquisition. The Hollywood Reporter indicates Milos Forman is making his first film following Man on the Moon, to be called Goya's Ghosts. It centers on the historic conflict between artist Francisco De Goya and the Spanish Inquisition in its last years." more

Natalie Portman interview at timeout.com
"I'm doing a film called Goya's Ghost with Milos Forman,' she exclusively revealed to TO. 'It's a period tale set during the Spanish Inquisition, and Goya, his inquisitor and one of his muses are the three main characters.'"

From variety.com
"Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman are in talks to star in "Goya's Ghost," the long-in-the-works drama about Spanish painter Francisco Goya. The drama will be directed by Milos Forman and produced by Saul Zaentz. Financing for the film is still being locked down, but both actors have cleared their schedules for early fall for a film that will shoot around Europe. Scripted by Jean-Claude Carriere and Forman, the drama is set in Spain in 1792, when Goya was the country's most famous painter. A scandal arises when his teenage muse is framed for heresy by a manipulative monk who is one of the driving forces behind the Spanish Inquisition. Bardem will play the monk. Portman will play the muse as well as her teen daughter Alicia, who might be the result of an illicit affair with the monk."

From empiremovies.com
"...with Revenge of the Sith all but a done deal, Portman is moving on to greener pastures, signing to star opposite Javier Bardem in Goya's Ghosts, a long-in-the-works drama about Spanish painter Francisco Goya. Milos Forman will direct.

The drama is set in Spain in 1792, when Goya was the country's most famous painter. A scandal arises when his teenage muse (Portman) is framed for heresy by a manipulative monk (Bardem) who is one of the driving forces behind the Spanish Inquisition. In addition to playing the muse, Portman will also portray her own teenage daughter, who may (or may not) be the result of an illicit affair with the monk.

In addition to directing, Milos Forman also co-wrote the script with Jean-Claude Carriere. Filming is scheduled to begin in early fall in Europe.

From ropeofsilicon.com
"Today Variety is reporting that Bardem and Portman are set to combine their talents in the drama Goya's Ghosts, a film about Spanish painter Francisco Goya.

The film will be directed by Milos Forman and is set in Spain in 1792, when Goya was the country's most famous painter. A scandal arises when his teenage muse (Portman) is framed for heresy by a manipulative monk (Bardem) who is one of the driving forces behind the Spanish Inquisition.

Portman will play the muse as well as her teen daughter Alicia, who might be the result of an illicit affair with the monk.

[Below] from April 24. 2004

UPDATE from story by Ruthe Stein at the SFGATE.COM:
"Forman and his old friend and collaborator Saul Zaentz, who was at the festival party, also have tried for years to fund a movie about Goya.

Forman shook his head no when I inquired if he ever considered throwing in the towel and just enjoying his nice life. 'Sure it's frustrating, but that's the nature of the business. I'm still excited about making movies.''

[Below] From 2002

Film is on hold as director Milos Forman is working on a different project. Reports in July 2002 had said Gary Oldman was going to be playing Goya in the proposed film.
Preview by Greg Schmitz, info on film here.

From Variety:
Director Milos Forman and producer Saul Zaentz, who collaborated on the Academy Award-winning films ``One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'' and ``Amadeus,'' are embarking on a film about the life and times of Spanish painter Francisco Goya. The picture will be directed by Forman, produced by Zaentz and penned by Michael Weller, who wrote the screenplays for the Forman pictures ``Hair'' and ``Ragtime.'' (Other films on Goya are The Naked Maja (1959) starring Ava Gardner and Anthony Franciosa, Volaverunt (1999) and Goya in Bordeaux (2000).

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Review of the Saura film

(from the UK Sunday Times)
Goya was an old man, and past his artistic prime, by the time he settled in Bordeaux, but the city only serves as the vantage point from which the film's Goya (Francisco Rabal) surveys his life and times in a series of flashbacks. These scenes are played out on abstract, pointedly artificial sets, an approach that lends a dreamlike quality to Goya's memories and allows episodes from his life to merge into images from his paintings.

The director, Carlos Saura, is a passionate admirer of Goya, and he has certainly fashioned an intelligent, honourable tribute. He has not, however, made a particularly exciting movie.
Search the Sunday Time
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Page on the Saura film HERE



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