Goya, Carrière & the Ghost of Buñuel

Jean-Claude Carrière, who died in 2021 soon after this documentary was finished, was one of the most important European scriptwriters of the past sixty years – famous for his collaborations with Buñuel - in addition to being a long-time expert on Spanish culture. “The Shadow of Goya” takes the form of a last visit by rail to that country in order to pay homage (as well as to say goodbye) to one of the greatest of all painters, whose canvases, tapestries and murals he meditates on in a variety of settings: renowned museums like the Prado, of course, but also grand palaces like that of the Duchess of Alba in Madrid, as well as the majestic interiors of churches. Carrière’s meditations on his hero come across with impressive intimacy. Among his many other gifts, the writer has a beautiful voice. What he has to say emerges as the distilled wisdom of a lifetime. It is a privilege to listen to him, for the depths of his reflection encompass not merely aesthetic appreciation (though that is quite evident) but a profound political sensibility that makes him a matchless interpreter of the other, darker more modern side of Goya’s genius: the world of “Los Caprichos”, “The Disasters of War” and the phantasmagoric ”Black Paintings” of his later years. Throughout these explorations (supported by a variety of wonderfully articulate witnesses) the connection with Buñuel is not forgotten: there are terrific glimpses of the provocative surrealist filmmaker whose affinity to Goya’s universe was profound, going far beyond the two artists’ shared deafness. The documentary is, as one would hope, pictorially splendid, highlighting not only the paintings themselves, but also the ancient landscape of Aragon and Andalusia: their villages, deserts and sierras.

José Luis Lopéz-Linares

José Luis López-Linares is a director and producer of documentary films. As director of photography, he worked on films by Carlos Saura, Fernando Trueba, Jaime Chávarri, Alain Tanner and Víctor Erice. Since 1994, he has produced and directed more than forty documentary films, including "Asaltar Los Cielos" (Ondas Prize 1997), "Un instante en la vida ajena" (Goya for Best Documentary 2004) and "Extras" (Goya for Best Short Documentary 2005). In 2005, he won the Goya for Best Photography for the film "Iberia" by Carlos Saura. In 2016, "The Mystery of Hieronymus Bosch" was released and became a great press and commercial success.