VenueWalter Reade Theater
Unjustly overlooked today, director Konrad Wolf was a major figure of post-War East German cinema, and this provocative, brilliantly stylized bio-pic of the controversial Spanish painter is arguably his masterpiece. An epic coproduction of DEFA—the state-run, East German film studio—and the USSR’s famed Lenfilm studio, Wolf’s film (adapted from the historical novel by Lion Feuchtwanger) traces Goya’s evolution from bon vivant court painter for King Carl IV to an enlightened free-thinker whose socially and politically pointed work (including his satirical Caprichos etchings) earns the ire of the Inquisition. The great Lithuanian film star Donastas Banionis (Solaris) gives a towering performance as Goya, surrounded by meticulous period and artistic recreations (Goya’s paintings were reproduced for the film by actual master artists). The result is an altogether remarkable, fiercely anti-authoritarian film somehow made under the watchful eyes of not one but two Communist regimes! Screening supported by the DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst.