“Try to keep up with the plot.”
“There’s a plot?”
Sure it’s been a while since I watched The Fisher King, but this seems like a semi-remake. Disillusioned former artist comes across a man whose life he’d inadvertedly destroyed some years ago, follows that man on adventures into a dream life inspired by ancient literature and legend? Fisher King was from the writer of The Ref, and this one by Gilliam with his Tideland cowriter Tony Grisoni. Dedicated to two late Quixotes, Jean Rochefort and John Hurt.
Adam Driver is an arty director on a chaotic ad shoot, having an affair with Olga Kurylenko, wife of his boss Stellan Skarsgård, but once he was an idealistic young filmmaker, in fact he made his Don Quixote student film over there, right over that hill, with local Spanish shoemaker townsperson Jonathan Pryce, wonder what happened to that guy. Turns out Pryce still believes he’s Quixote, and when he sees Adam again, he dubs him Sancho and they go on Adventures.
“A good host looks after his hostages. Is that the right word?” The movie has some good writing, and unbelievably, in 2018, Terry Gilliam made a feature film in which the Spanish Inquisition arrives unexpectedly, and this didn’t blow up the heads of every Python-quoting 50-year-old in the English-speaking world. Maybe that was Gilliam’s intention, but alas, the movie remains underwatched. It will age well, as Star Wars fans discover Adam Driver’s peerless pronunciations of swear words, and they will gravitate, one by one, towards this unrated cornucopia of profanity.
Okay, the last hour is weird and didn’t work for me, but that leaves a solid 75-minute movie, and also Rossy de Palma is in there.
“You have to follow my path even if you don’t understand it.”
Don Quixote thinks he’s a knight, enlists his neighbor as squire. Pancho is sleepy and despondent, Quixote is belligerent, but both are quite slow and seemingly dull-witted. Time goes slowly. Some nice natural-light photography, though.
Shot in part by Eduard Grau (A Single Man, Finisterrae). Mark Peranson apparently made a Serra making-of doc, but it’s about Birdsong despite being named Waiting for Sancho.
Honor de Cavalleria is a modernist, materialist, experiential film made with a supreme amount of confidence. It’s one of those films that periodically appears in a hostile, conformist environment – like a UFO landing – and causes viewers and critics to ponder how exactly films operate on spectators. … it is as if we are eavesdropping on the real inspirations for the dreamer Quixote and the earth-bound Sancho as they moseyed across the gorgeous landscape centuries ago, their language less important than the movement of their bodies.
Serra, who has a degree in Hispanic Philology:
We wanted to make a film on idealism. What then was the starting point of such a film? A beautiful novel dealing with that theme, that is to say Don Quixote. … This austere and conceptual atmosphere [of Bresson and Bergman] interested us. Young filmmakers usually have the stereotype of the urban film, current stories, themes dealing with young people. In order to go against that, we insisted on the classic film tradition, different from that of nowadays’ young cinema. We wanted to make a film poles apart from current cinema.
Serra again, on the look: “It’s shot in Mini DV, not HD or any high-end bullshit. … I don’t like the definition to be that high.” He quotes Lisandro Alonso and Blissfully Yours as influences.