This evening I sat myself down with a large glass of pink lemonade, and curled up to watch Los Borgia. I’ve been a fan of The Borgias pretty much ever since it first started and although I love the series more than anything the lack of historical accuracy in the series has been known to make me rage and scream at my television. For instance, in season 2 of The Borgias you see Juan Borgia at the Siege of Forli – now, the siege of Forli happened in 1499 when Juan had been dead for two years, and it was Cesare who commanded the armies and who took Caterina Sforza prisoner. Oh, and Caterina didn’t do the whole “ten more sons” thing at the siege in 1499 either, she apparently said it in 1488 after the death of her first husband Girolamo Riario. Both series 1 and 2 tend to do this, and the mistakes in the historiography are just too many to count. Now, I know it’s a drama series and made to give that dramatic kick in the balls to make the whole thing seem much more exciting but honestly, the story of the Borgia family really doesn’t need any fabrication or stuff changing around.
Now then, when I first heard about Los Borgia I was a little put off as it is entirely in Spanish. However, having sat down and watched it I am so, so glad I did. I will start by saying that the casting was almost perfect. The young man who played Cesare, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, was nigh on perfect and really captured the essence of Cesare Borgia. As the programme went on you saw him change from a young man who didn’t want to wear cardinals robes to a man growing into his role as soldier and general, his obsession with glory. Each and every actor or actress brought something to their characters that made you feel something for the character – I adored Lucrezia and her innocence, Juan was ambitious and arrogant as I imagined him in history, Caterina Sforza was like a tigress. To me, the cast was almost flawless.
What was even better was that the script kept as close to the history as it could. Alright so there were things that had to be glossed over or missed out due to the 2 hour timescale, but they showed each and every one of Lucrezia’s marriages (with none of these ridiculous random suitors like in The Borgias) and Alfonso of Aragon was actually the correct guy in this one (in The Borgias, Sancia’s brother gets horrifically murdered by Charles VIII and Alfonso D’Aragona ends up being someone completely different when in reality he was actually Sancia’s brother), Juan isn’t shown as stabbed and chucked in the Tiber by his brother – rather you see him ride away with a masked man and then found in the river the next day, The Siege of Forli is shown with the correct brother heading the army and at the correct time and the script made it clear that the rumours saying Juan was killed by Cesare were rumours; and made sure that the audience knew the incest thing is based on vile rumour also. As well as this, I thought they dealt with Cesare’s death exceptionally well, sticking as close to what actually happened as they possibly could – he ended up alone, dressed in light armour, and was ambushed. He was stabbed from all sides and then stripped and left naked and bleeding. The men who killed Cesare had no idea it was actually him, until Cesare’s squire was shown his armour and the young lad burst into tears. The script dealt with his death really well, and the show finished with a shot of Cesare lying dead, pierced by spears and holding a necklace given to him by his sister. Brilliant cinematography that had me reaching for the tissues.
If you are interested in the Borgia family and want to watch a television show about them that is a lot more historically accurate and less dramatised than The Borgias (which I do adore by the way), then I would wholeheartedly recommend Los Borgia.
And now for some screencaps. Enjoy!
Cesare, Jofre, Lucrezia and Juan
Cesare sparring with Micheletto
Cesare and Juan eyeing up Sancia
Juan, about to go off and be a rubbish soldier
Lucrezia and Cesare
Cesare with the body of Juan’s groom, who was stabbed on his way to fetch Juan’s armour
The body of Juan Borgia, 2nd Duke of Gandia
Pope Alexander VI and Lucrezia
Cesare’s sword was inscribed with the words Caesar Aut Nihil which meant “Caesar Or Nothing”
Cesare and his sword
Cesare, about to head off and be an awesome soldier
Lucrezia giving her brother a helmet
The Pope, about to be handed letters infused with Cantarella from Caterina Sforza. In reality, these letters had been infused with the plague.
Cesare, being an awesome soldier
Caterina Sforza defending Forli
Cesare and Lucrezia
The funeral of Alfonso D’Aragona
Lucrezia basically telling Cesare to go away because he killed her husband
Cesare suffering from the same illness that killed his father, and Lucrezia (who is in Ferrara) all worried
The death of Alexander VI
Pope Julius II
Cesare looking across the hills of Navarre, Spain
Cesare is said to have worn this mask to disguise the deformities on his face from syphillis
Cesare and his young groom
Cesare and his groom
Taking on the soldiers, ON HIS OWN
The death of Cesare Borgia, Duke of Valentinois and Duke of the Romagna