Saturday, 12 February 2011

Juana La Loca - Juana the Mad

2001 by Vicente Aranda

When a true story or historical movie is very impressive I do try to find out more about it and Wikipedia says so about Juana the Mad

Joanna or Joan (6 November 1479 – 12 April 1555), nicknamed Joanna the Mad (SpanishJuana la Loca), was the first Queen regnant of both the Crown of Castile(1504–55) and the Crown of Aragon (1516–55), a union which evolved into modern Spain.[1] Besides the kingdoms of Spain, she also ruled the kingdoms of Sardinia,Sicily, and Naples in Italy; a vast colonial empire in the Americas; and was Countess of Burgundy and the consort of the Burgundian Netherlands, thus initiating Spanish interests there. She was the last monarch of the House of Trastámara and her marriage to Philip the Handsome initiated the rule of the Habsburgs in Spain. Throughout most of her long reign she was under the regency of either her husband, father or son, and she was long confined to a nunnery under the pretense of mental illness.

Beautiful and young Juana is married off by her parents to prince Philip in what is clearly explained by her mother as a political marriage. Juana falls in love with Philip, madly. They have children and her love for Philip is only growing, so is her sexual passion for Philip. But on a bad day when the news of her mother's death arrives, she also finds out that Philip is unfaithful to her. She is shocked and behaves unlikely of a queen, more like an ordinary woman crying and screaming. From here spreads a talk that she is mad. Normally, Juana is the new Queen of her parents kingdom. Out of her passionate love for Philip, Juana is more interested in the other life of Philip than her kingdom. In fact she behaves less like a queen and more like an ordinary loving wife who cannot bear the fact that her husband is a cheat. At the same time there are men behind Philip who like to make use of this madness of Juana and declare her mad and unfit to be a queen, so that Philip will reign as the King of Castille, the monarch. There are some noble men who think Juana is not mad and they try to help her, in an attempt to stop Philip crowned as the sole monarch, but Juana is more interested in finding out who amongst her ladies is the mistress of her husband. She is declared a mad queen and has to live the rest of her life in a Castle in seclusion, with permission to visit the tomb of her beloved husband.  

Let me say this is a unique love story. We read, hear and saw stories and many movies about royal love, but for the first time I can see a queen who is really in love. When did we see a queen worried about the King chasing women, I cant remember any. Queens always behaved as if Kings can have many women.

Juana is from royal blood and she knows very well how to behave, but out of love she doesn't care for royal pretentions and behaves ordinarily. 

I am watching Pinar Lopez de Ayala, who plays Juana, for the first time and I am so impressed. She is beautiful and she can act, she acts very well in fact. There is a scene where the noble men are trying to talk to her about all the political drama around her, but she is desperately checking the hand writing of her ladies to find who amongst them have written to her husband. She was brilliant here, of course through out the movie she is, but this scene stood out for me. 

This movie also have excellent photography, costumes and music. 

We have seen so many royal movies, with all the drama around the battles to kingdom and what not. But Juana la loca, for me, is very special. I would place Juana la loca even above other royal movies - The Other Obelyn girl, Young Victoria etc, where the story is around the queen. 

1 comment:

  1. "Juana La Loca - Juana the Mad"...dis movie seems quite intresting...will surely watch it if gt a chance!!!