I’m extremely excited to have the rare opportunity to screen Albert Serra’s audacious take on Cervantes’ Don Quixote, QUIXOTIC. A film whose director brazenly declared it one of the true masterpieces of recent Spanish cinema, and by recent we’re talking the last 30 years! So what’s all the hype about? A film adapted from a work of literature containing thousands if not hundreds of thousands of words, laid bare in a few lines of dialog, set in a serene pastoral setting consisting of little more than a man, a horse, and his servant; mere figures in a changing landscape. And how to best express the interior emotional gravity of these two men? Cast two non-professional actors. Lluís Carbó, ever so slightly crazed and unkempt in appearance as a wildly white-maned Quixote, comes across as simultaneously hyper-alert and deeply immersed, whereas Lluís Serrat is the sublimest of Sanchos and the most pensive of Panzas, indelibly capturing the corpulent squire’s stridently akinetic but unquestioningly deep devotion. Their warm interplay injects genuine emotion into Serra’s rendering it legible as an original and modern visualization of Quixote’s attempts to bridge the gap between reality and idealistic illusions. And if that weren’t enough, Serra chooses to shoot this piece on mini-DV, not HD or film, and yet the cumulative effect is austerely moving. Both playful and serious, it’s a wholly original riff on Bressonian and Ozuesque notions of cine-purity, and very much a film that adheres to its own chivalric code. For these reason’s it is no surprise that the film has more than once been described a cinematic equivalent of a UFO. I suggest you come out for a sighting, it’s truly a contemplative piece of cinema, something completely unexpected.
Yesterday the SLOG announced that our Local Sightings juror Vanessa Renwick (ssen above with filmmaker Bill Daniels) is the recipient of a PONCHO Special Recognition Awards in the amount of $1,500 from SAM. She’ll be in town next weekend for Local Sightings presenting a program of work from Portland, but will apparently be returning for the awards ceremony at SAM on Oct. 23. Congrats Vanessa!