Not so much a conventional biopic of the acclaimed Spanish painter, but rather, as cinematographer Vittorio Storaro puts it: "A journey through memory." The 82 year old Goya (Francisco Rabal) recollects stories from his tumultuous life to his daughter: his stint as a court painter for Charles IV, his hearing loss and his abiding fascination with "monsters and nightmares", which found such fertile expression in his work.
At times the narrative verges on the incoherent, yet veteran director Carlos Saura has still choreographed a remarkable visual spectacle, which takes the viewer into the inner world of its feverish protagonist. Past and present merge in an inspired blending of light, shadow, colour and darkness.
Inventively incorporating Goya's own paintings into the storyline, the highlight is the operatic restaging, in a series of tableaux, of his Disasters Of War engravings.