Review: ‘Don Quixote, Knight Errant’

Another reason to lament the failure of Orson Welles and Terry Gilliam to bring their visions of Miguel de Cervantes' novel to the screen, veteran director Manuel Gutierrez Aragon's "Don Quixote, Knight Errant" is a handsomely mounted but stolidly reverential retelling of the Spanish classic.

Another reason to lament the failure of Orson Welles and Terry Gilliam to bring their visions of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel to the screen, veteran director Manuel Gutierrez Aragon’s “Don Quixote, Knight Errant” is a handsomely mounted but stolidly reverential retelling of the Spanish classic. Outside the classy production’s home territory, where the high-caliber cast and enduring popularity of the book might count, interest looks to be confined to European lit students.

Following his award-winning 1991 small-screen adaptation, the director’s second encounter with Cervantes’ delusional devotee of chivalry and romance also has the feel of upscale television fare. Concentrating on the later years of the adventures of Don Quixote (Juan Luis Galiardo) and loyal sidekick Sancho Panza (Carlos Iglesias), Gutierrez Aragon puts a vaguely postmodern spin on the material, casting the pair as agents of their own fiction; their travels coincide with their spreading popularity as much-derided but beloved heroes of a widely read saga. But despite this playful reinterpretation of the spirit of Cervantes and the rich, golden-toned visuals and sweeping landscapes, the film is conventional, academic and unenthralling.

Don Quixote, Knight Errant

Spain

Production

An Alta Classics release of a GonaFilm production in co-production with Telemadrid, Television de Castila La Mancha, Cartel, TVV, with participation of TVE, Canal Plus. (International sales: Kevin Williams Associates, Madrid.) Produced by Juan Gona. Directed, written by Manuel Gutierrez Aragon, based on "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Jose Luis Alcaine; editor, Jose Salcedo; music, Jose Nieto; production designer, Felix Murcia; costume designer, Gerardo Vera. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Special Events), Sept. 4, 2002. Running time: 122 MIN.

With

Juan Luis Galiardo, Carlos Iglesias, Jose Luis Torrijos, Victor Clavijo, Santiago Ramos, Kiti Manver, Maria Nasi, Manuel Alexandre, Marta Etura, Joaquin Hinojosa, Emma Suarez, Juan Diego Botto, Jose Luis Alcobendas, Manuel Manquina, Paco Merino, Fernando Guillen Cuervo.
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