The love story that transformed Juana, Queen of Spain, into Juana "The mad". A story of passions, lies and jealousy with a political fight behind it.
Spain's answer to Elizabeth
is a 16th-century political conspiracy drama inspired by the true story of the "mad" Queen Joan and transformed by septuagenarian Vicente Aranda (Lovers
) into an earthy bodice ripper. Age certainly hasn't dulled his taste for hot-blooded cinema. Spanish beauty Pilar López de Ayala, with her doe eyes and milky complexion, is the royal innocent sacrificed in a political marriage to the swarthy Prince Philip (Daniele Liotti with a Fabio mane of hair), a womanizing cad whose wandering eye transforms the naive virgin into a tempestuously jealous wife. Aranda matches Pedro Almodóvar in the arena of self-destructive love, obsessive passion, sweaty cinematic sex, and deliriously melodramatic spectacle. If this portrait of Joan as a volatile package of emotional nitroglycerin borders on melodramatic cliché, López de Ayala gives her a fiery, full-blooded passion and Aranda mounts her romantic obsession in an unhinged, undeniably lusty costume drama. --Sean Axmaker