José Luis López Linares’ “Goya, Carrière and the Ghost of Buñuel,” a portrait of French film great Jean-Claude Carrière, captured breaking down the paintings and personality of painter Francisco de Goya, has been acquired for international sales by Reservoir Docs.

In its earliest sales, the doc feature has closed the two biggest markets in Europe with reputed distributors, licensing France to Epicentre and Germany and Austria to Weltkino. Syldavia Cinema will distribute in Spain, Version Digital in Italy and Outsider Films in Portugal.  

Launched in 2020 by Anais Clanet, Reservoir Docs will bring the documentary feature onto the market at next month’s Cannes Festival.

“Reservoir Docs has always been a key sales agent for theatrical art & culture docs and Jose Luis’ work fits perfectly,” said Clanet. “To me, Goya painted European conflicts in the late 18th and early 19th centuries but he didn’t only chronicle his times: Somehow, he was a visionary, hence the world we live in today that still looks like a Goya painting.” 

Directed by López Linares, the filmmaker behind “Bosch: The Garden of Dreams,“ Goya” marks a heartfelt homage to Carrière, a co-writer of movies by some of the world’s greatest auteurs, whether Milos Forman (“Valmont”), Volker Schlöndorff  (“The Tin Drum”), Julian Schnabel (“At Eternity’s Gate”), or, and most especially, Luis Buñuel. Carrière co-penned all of the Spanish master’s late period French films, such as “Belle de Jour” and “The Obscure Object of Desire.”

Rather than a talking heads title, however, the doc feature  accompanies Carrière as he does what he did best: Interpreting genius. Here, he travels to Spain for what tragically would prove the last time, visiting the Prado, Goya’s birthplace in a village in Aragón, Fuendetodos, and the glorious frescoes in La Cartuja charterhouse just outside Zaragoza, among nearly 30 sites housing Goya’s vast work.

Reflecting on Goya, standing before his paintings or leafing through a book of Goya’s revolutionary engravings recording the haunting horrors of the Napoleonic Wars, Carrrière breaks them down in a few deft observations – pinpointing Goya’s determination to paint the humble, poor, imprisoned and toothless; his deafness increasing a sense of visual acuity but also solitude; his rebellion against the rule of reason established by the Enlightenment; the stigmata of a mad world. 

Carrière also reminisces about Buñuel, whom he worked with for nearly 20 years, finally ghosting his autobiography, “My Last Sigh.” The effect, enhanced by interviews with Schnabel, Carlos Saura and Carrière’s wife Nahal Tajadod, is to establish not only a sense of Goya’s place in the world but Buñuel’s and Carrière’s own, and a direct through-line between the three.

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Goya, Carriere and the Ghost of Bunuel Courtesy of Reservoir Docs

“Goya, Carrière and the Ghost of Buñuel” is produced by France’s Mondex Films and Milonga Productions, Spain’s López-Li Films and Zampa Audiovisual and Portugal’s Fado Filmes. 

“This is my eighth collaboration as a producer with whom I consider to be the master of documentary filmmaking in Spain, José Luis López Linares. When my friend Stephane Sorlat suggested bringing Carrière to work with us I was more than enchanted. Carrière, friend of my family, a collaborator of Saura and Buñuel, and one of the few geniuses I have encountered,” said Zampa Audiovisual’s Antonio Saura, lamenting the loss of Carrière, “a marvellous, generous and brilliant man,” who died in February 2021. 

Co-founded by Stéphane Sorlat and Guy Amon, Mondex Films has produced Margarethe Von Trotta and Felix Moeller’s “Searching for Ingmar Bergman” and co-produced Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s “The Realm,” Carlos Saura’s “Argentina” and López Linares’ “Bosch: The Garden of Dreams.”

Zampa Audiovisual is a boutique production company founded by producer Saura and actor Ruth Gabriel, who executive produced “Goya, Carrière and the Ghost of Buñuel.” Previous credits include multi-awarded film “The Last Suit” by Pablo Solarz, and four collaborations with López Linares, including Berlin-selected “Sherry and the Mystery of Palo Cortado” and San Sebastian-screening “Virgin @Extra.”

Producing titles which have scored multiple Goya Awards and been selected for all the world’s major festivals, Lopezlifilms was created by López Linares and Arantxa Aguirre, two of Spain’s foremost documentary filmmakers. Its latest title, “España la primera globalización,” was the No. 1 documentary at the Spanish box office last year.

Fado Filmes produced Carlos Saura’s “Fados,” on which López Linares served as DP. 

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Goya, Carriere and the Ghost of Bunuel Courtesy of Reservoir Docs