Friday, October 26, 2007

Goya's Ghosts

Goya’s Ghosts is a film by Milos Forman that was released in 2006. The story takes place in Spain at the end of the 18th century. It traces back the life of the famous Spanish painter Fransisco Goya and gives an overview of the political situation of the country at that time. The story begins in 1792, when the Church decides to reinstaure drastic measures to fight heresy. Fransisco Goya is a famous painter and even the Official Court Painter. One day, Father Lorenzo, a member of the Holy Office, asks Goya to paint his portrait. While observing the paintings in Goya’s studio, Lorenzo’s attention is
caught by the portrait of Inèz Bilbatua, the daughter of a rich merchant. The latter is later arrested by the Holy Office and accused of practising Jewish rituals in secret (because she refused to eat pork at a dinner party). She is tortured (what the Church calls “putting to the question”), then confesses and is sent to prison. In order to get his daughter released, Tomas Bilbatua, Inèzs father, donates Lorenzo a considerable amount of money for the Church and asks him to do something in exchange for his daughter. However it is in vain. Lorenzo goes to see Inèz in prison several times and rapes her. The fate of Inès haunts Goya’s mind and changes the way he paints. Fifteen years later, the armies of Napoleon invade Spain and abolish the Inquisition, enabling all the prisoniers of the Church to be released. After discovering that all her family has been killed in the attacks, Inèz finds refuge with Goya and asks him to help find the daughter she gave birth to in prison…I won’t tell you anymore just in case someone is interested in going to see it! (the film is now on at the Cameo cinema in Namur and is broadcast in English and subtitled in French and Dutch)
The film thus deals with a very serious subject and is very hard and cruel. It shows that at the time of the Inquisiton, the Chruch had all the power and did not hesitate to use inhuman practices if the rules of the Church were not respected. Indeed Inèz is tortured so that she confesses (even if it is not true!) and the state in which she comes out of prison bears witness to all the sufferings she endured there. However, the film is very well made and worthwhile. I really recommend it! If you want the see the trailer of the film, just click here!


Cécile* said...

Nice summary!
And nice movie too!

Martin Cugnon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin Cugnon said...

I went to see the movie and I found it fairly good. I particularly enjoyed the part which shows how the Father Lorenzo was taught everybody would confess if put to the question.