Don Quixote is obviously an adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ mammoth novel of the same name. It was the first adaptation to be shot in colour and widescreen but the first Quixote adaptation was over a century ago in 1906. It was also a Russian production and was entered into the Cannes film festival where it left empty handed. It was directed by noted Russian director Grigori Kozintsev, who starting working in film back in the days of Eisenstein. Kozintsev who like Eisenstein was also a member modernist avant-garde movement “Eccentricism”. After Quixote he did some Shakespeare adaptations of King Lear and Hamlet. The actor who plays Quixote Nikolai Cherkasov also starred in some Eisenstein films.
The adaptation of Quixote is supposedly relatively faithful to the novel according to some reviews (I haven’t read the novel). It however chronologically changes the order of adventures is changed drastically. Don Quixote de la Mancha is a aging old gentleman who’s real name is Alonso Quixano. He reads many books of chivalry and starting believing he is a knight. He meets with his trusty squire Sancho Panza. They have adventures, Quixote falls in love the possibly imaginary Lady Dulcinea, they however treated like fools but their humour and dreams help them along.
The film is a really well done adaptation; it’s a relatively short 100 minutes or so. The film is beautifully shot and I wish the dvd release wasn’t letterbox but a anamorphic widescreen transfer which would really show the beauty of the photography. I am however happy a film this obscure is even released in the UK. The best scene for me was the scene when you actually see what Quixote sees and it’s done very surreally and will stick in my mind for a time. The film is a somewhat more serious version of the story than some adaptations, which is partly in tone with the 2nd half of the novel but it does have the expected humour of Quixote. It will be probably the best film of Don Quixite till Terry Gilliam does his.
UK DVD Release Date: 24th September 2012
Directed By:Grigori Kozintsev
Pre-Order/Buy:Don Quixote On DVD