9 thoughts on “I Have No Idea What Goya’s Ghosts Is About

  1. Natalie Portman is my eternal WCW, so I watched this for her, and what I did follow of the plot made me really sad, because Inez just gets put through so much awful stuff for no real reason. Then again, is it really a Natalie Portman movie if she doesn’t do that thing where her eyebrows try to bend to 90 degrees while she cries?

  2. Those are not “French military”; they are British infantry officers. Their uniforms aren’t the greatest: the British officer’s coat wasn’t cut square across the waist like that of the man on the left, and the thick white edging is an absolute no-no; and he seems to have forgotten his magenta sprang-silk sash when he got dressed in the morning. The man on the right is wearing a gorget – a sign that he is on duty, and therefore has no business to be hanging out with floozies! – but otherwise is passable. Except that both of them are wearing cavalry boots, and not even British-style ones at that.

    And the man in a red coat in the last picture isn’t part of King Ferdinand’sa retinue; he’s obviously supposed to be the Duke of Wellington. Compare this 1804 portrait of him in the National Portrait Gallery: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arthur_Wellesley,_1st_Duke_of_Wellington_by_Robert_Home.jpg.
    The actor is wearing his coat ‘triangled’ – buttoned only 3/4 of the way up and the top corners of the lapels turned back to show a triangle of the linings, which are the same blue as the collar and cuffs and are embroidered the same way as the outside of the lining. (Except they obviously decided they weren’t going to pay for gold embroidery for an actor who probably was only in one scene so they just stitched on some gold lace* instead. Fair enough.) The triangles are sitting oddly low (see this for comparison: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Murray_(British_Army_officer)#/media/File:General_George_Murray_(1772-1846),_by_John_Hoppner.jpg
    – which means that they’ve had to stitch his Star of the Order of the Bath rather too low. But for a Spanish costumier unfamiliar with the specifically British military look of the period, it’s not bad. You can see who he’s meant to be.

    1. Yup, I misremembered — Alicia hooks up with the Brits, who are fighting the French in Spain. Clearly I know zero about military uniforms, so the visual didn’t remind me!

  3. The Spanish Inquisition going unexpectedly after a minor Gentlewoman strikes me as improbable unless she’s actively preaching heresy. The inquisition was mainly an instrument of royal control. A young woman was most unlikely to attract their attention given the social limitations placed on women unless she’s engaged in heresy or high level political intrigue.

  4. When I watched Goya’s Ghosts when IT came out, I was a huge fan of Goya’s paintings. I interpreted the film as a sort of mosaic of contemporary scenes that figure in Goya’s paintings : the inquisition, war and ist horrors, spanish enlightenment and proto-nationalism (Maya costumes), French occupation and the catholic backlash.

  5. Like Julia above, I saw the movie not long after it came out. I remember it as being slow, not engaging, and miscast. I don’t know if miscast is the correct word, as I think most of the actors were pretty good with their roles, but overall there was no chemistry. Also, I couldn’t get over how weird Natalie Portman looked with black hair and a spray tan. It’s one of those movies that every now and then I think I’ll try to give it a second chance, but then I get tired just thinking about it. Also, I agree with Julia’s interpretation above, but even “understanding” the film on that level didn’t make me enjoy it.

  6. The costumes are looking a lot better then in most of Forman’s film. I have to admit that I didn’t saw it in the cinema because I noticed that Forman was the director and I don’t like “Amadeus” or “Valmont” and Forman’s way of storytelling. However Goya is a very interesting figure for filmmakers and there were interesting costumes during the period – some aspects to make it very interesting to portray Goya as a person living between art and court during a period of war and extreme violence.

    I prefer Goya’s earlier paintings, although I’m not a huge fan of his style.

  7. The man at the balcony in the last photo is not Bepe Botella ( Joseph Bonaparte was called like that in Madrid ) but king Ferdinand VII, the other’s are his nephew Charles of Parma, possibly his brother and maybe her sisters.
    He’s like the famous painting made by Goya himself in the same year, so another quote about a future Goya’s work

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