Stalked by Felipe

Today this man has been stalking me…or was it the other way round?

Philip II

First I witnessed his late-life actions in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Don Carlo at the dress rehearsal of this staging. I have always loved the opera and find the role of Philip especially intriguing. Because I am talking about King Philip II of Spain. Or Felipe as it should be. In Verdi’s version Philip is a man afraid to lose control over his possessions and over himself, and a man with at least one big problem – his failure to love and to be loved.

And just now I returned from the cinema and from Elizabeth – The Golden Age where Philip plays a not insignificant part. Unfortunately I have been unable to find any pictures of the Philip of the film, Jordi Mollà, but I did find a Spanish trailer where Felipe is highlighted somewhat more than in the international trailers…

The portrayal of the Spanish king was sorely one-dimensional. He looked like some bloodthirsty maniac most of the time which might be the easy way to tell a story but not the most interesting. Especially not when the person in question was a most complex man with doubts and fears en masse plus a not small interest in the arts. Sadly enough the one-dimensionality of Philip characterised the rest of the film aswell. It seems to me they just dropped a lot of potential on the floor and failed to pick up the pieces in order to make a story that would carry anyone away if indeed anywhere. Still it was worth watching if not for other reasons then for the extremely beautiful art direction and costumes.

Elizabeth. The Golden Age. Cate Blanchett

And Philip? Well I’ll be stalking him a bit more by looking up some facts and figures about the old rascal. Oh, and did I mention he was born the same day as me? Just 452 years before I first opened my eyes.


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