Saturday, November 29, 2008

El Greco

A fictionalized account of El Greco’s life that some critics and viewers mention that looks like if everything shown was true and I have to concur as from the several painters related movies I have seen lately, perhaps this is one that pretends to work as a biopic and totally succeeds in the make believe which makes it more entertaining than just watching the great traditional period mise en scène.

The Yannis Smaragdis film based on the book “The Painter of God”, a fictional biography by Dimitris Siatopoulos takes one not so famous El Greco painting of Toledo’s Great Inquisitor El Niño de Guevarra and creates a story that starts as a friendship between both characters and ends with El Greco facing the Spanish Inquisition. In between there is not much discussion of his art, but the story dramatically plays with darkness and light in metaphorical and direct ways, making this matter the only tangentially related to true El Greco painting style.

Cinematography is nice even when most takes are indoors and during the dark times of the Spanish Inquisition where everyone that was someone dressed in black, so do not expect colorful costumes; but there are some great framed scenes where everyone is wearing black and the then Cardinal El Niño is wearing red in all darkness. Worth to mention is that the original soundtrack is by Vangelis.

Performances are acceptable, but is Juan Diego Botto that plays the good turned bad El Niño character with a very engaging performance and great screen presence that really blew my mind and made the movie very enjoyable for me.

Not a classic epic masterpiece, but an acceptable entertaining period drama that could please adult audiences that want to see a story that really looks and feels like if is the biography of El Greco when is not.


No comments yet