Synopsis by Nathan Southern
As directed by Greek filmmaker Iannis Smaragdis and co-adapted by Smaragdis and Jackie Pavlenko from Dmitris Siatopoulos's heavily-fictionalized biographical novel Greco: The Painter of God, the (largely) English-language biopic El Greco tells a colorful version of the titular 16th Century Spanish Renaissance painter's life story. Born Domenikos Theotokopoulos on Crete in 1541 and portrayed here by Nick Ashdon, El Greco writes out his story as he sits in prison awaiting execution by the Spanish Inquisition, and the events of his life play out in extended flashbacks. The tale itself begins on the isle of Crete in 1566, when Domenikos falls for sensual Venetian Francesca (Dimitra Matsouka), daughter of the Cretean governor. Domenikos's father, however, attempts to lead a political rebellion on the island, which forces the young painter to be shuttled off to Venice and away from the young lass. Once there, his path intersects not only with the famed artist Titian (Sotiris Moustakas) but Nino de Guevara (Juan Diego Botto), a Spanish priest with not-so-subtle homosexual designs on this new arrival. Nino's actions spiral downward into destructive malevolence, and in time, he turns up as the chief Inquisitor in one of history's bloodiest and most notorious debacles - spurned, roiled by the knowledge that El Greco has taken a female partner, and itching to dole out a fatal reprisal on the painter who never became his lover.