Tag Archives: Jeremy Irons


The latest from the team that brought us Caravaggio: The Soul and The Blood and Water Lilies of Monet: The Magic of Water and Light is THE PRADO MUSEUM A COLLECTION OF WONDERS .

It is perhaps at times a bit overwhelming and excessively rich as we explore the history, building, and many famous works housed in the collection of the Prado Museum .

Dramatically narrated by Jeremy Irons we learn of the Museum’s two hundred year history and view some of its collection.There are interviews with curators and we see a little of the fascinating conservation and restoration work that is involved. Included are spectacular landscape shots and the interior and exterior of the building and how now the Museum is for The People bringing art to the masses, a living museum that moves and changes . Fascinating footage is included of a touring section of the Museum during the early 1930’s and how the Museum survived the Spanish Civil War and World War 11.

Six centuries of Spanish history are covered – we see various portraits and learn the history of its of kings and queens, from Ferdinand of Aragon’s marriage to Isabella of Castile – which marked the beginning of the great Spanish empire – and various later painters, artists, architects, collectors, curators, intellectuals and visitors.

A painting or other artwork can be analysed as colour, canvas ( or other media) , form and, matter, but it is also the story of men and women, both rich and poor, rulers and artists ,queens and palaces . Interviews include ,for example ,the director of the Prado, Miguel Falomir and Sir Norman Foster, the architect who worked alongside Carlos Rubio to carry out the restoration of the Salón de Reinos and its conversion into a museum.

The Prado was founded in 1819 – thanks to Ferdinand VII’s wife, Maria Isabella of Bragranza, and her love of art – and its collection has been further developed over the years thanks to the great foresight of rulers and art historians who selected works by the great masters from all over Europe. So viewers see how art is an international language with no real barriers .

There are over eight thousand works housed in the Prado’s extraordinary collection .The documentary concentrates particularly on the works by Goya ( eg his paintings The Third of May and The Fifth of May but also his nightmare paintings Los Caprichos and how this was social critique of the time ) and Velasquez ( eg :Las Meninas and his other incredible court portraits ) but also there are mentions of Lorca , Caravaggio, Dali,  Picasso,  Botticelli, Rubens , Bosch , Giordarno,  Guido Reni, Mantegna, Durer, Brueghel, de Zubaran ,Tintoretto, El Greco, Titian and and and … so many famous paintings! Not forgetting, to name but a few, the sculptures, glass work, tapestries, a special clock collection and a photographic collection and archive.

We see both long panning shots of various rooms of the Prado and some of the works are photographed in great close up and analysed by various experts and curators .There are also fiery sequences of Flamenco dance linked in with discussion about the Spanish soul and history and how this links in with the paintings; the contrast between body and soul, wealth , nobility and misery, The history of the female nude in particular is examined and how it is linked to ‘mythological ‘ paintings , and also the male nude and homo-eroticism . Another interesting issue raised is the lack of representation of female painters.

This was a fascinating look at the Prado’s collection. As Picasso said “ Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Running time 90 mins ( approx.) no interval

THE PRAO MUSEUM A COLLECTION OF WONDERS screens at selected arthouse cinemas from July 13 2019



Jeremy Irons and  Lena Olin in NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON
Jeremy Irons and Lena Olin in NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON

When Danish film director Bille August’s film NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON, adapted from Pascal Marcier’s novel, came to a close and the credits began to roll, my good friend and I, spontaneously, applauded. We were not attending a premiere, red carpet screening, where such behaviour is predicted.  In truth, we were attending a very low key late afternoon screening of the film at Paddington’s Chauvel cinema, with only a few people in attendance, spread out across the large cinema.

What makes NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON shine is that it tells an archetypal story superbly. At its heart, it is the story of a man living a very plodding, ordinary existence, like many of us do, who discovers a a new raison d’etre for living.

Brilliant British actor Jeremy Irons plays high school Latin teacher Raimund Gregorious who ekes out a very mundane, lonely existence as a high school Latin teacher in Berne, Switzerland. One day, through a bizarre set of circumstances, he stumbles upon a book written by Portuguese Doctor, philosopher and poet, Amadeu de Prado. Gregorious is drawn to the writing on a deep and personal level, and is mesmerised by De Prado’s story as a medic and resistence fighter against the tyranny of Portuguese dictator, Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.

Suddenly Gregorious abandons his deeply conservative nature and his Latin students, and hitches on the Night Train to Lisbon, dedicated to finding out more about the remarkable de Prado.

August’s telling of Mercier’s story is delicate and exquisite. A high calibre cast led by Jeremy Irons and featuring luminaries such as Bruno Ganz, Christopher Lee and Charlotte Rampling, are at the top of their game.

The film is beautifully lit by Filip Zumbrunn. Annette Fock’s score is exceptional.

THE NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON is only playing at a few cinemas, Hoyts Cinema Paris, Roseville and Chauvel cinemas. Try and step on this train before it leaves the big screen.