Honor De Cavalleria (Don Quixote) by Albert Serra

“Honor De Cavalleria” is a free adaptation of the famous novel “Don Quixote. It's written and directed by Albert Serra, who draws on “El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de La Mancha,” by Miguel de Cervantes.

During its filming, the production team and cast embarked on a cinematic and biographical journey that mirrors the experiences of the novels two leading characters. The parallels between these two journeys form the central theme of the film. In artistic terms, this film is not the narrative of an adventure, but rather the adventure of a narrative.” On a more personal note, it could also be said to be the first film version of Quixote made by flesh-and-blood Quixotes.”

In its aesthetics and its central concepts, Quixotic brings together three distinct threads: purist cinema (including Lancelot du Lac, The Gospel According to St Matthew, Francis Gods Jester, Ozu); the innovative, eccentric works of the 1970s (Paradjanov, Glauber Rocha, Godard), and the personal mythology of its author.

Llus Carb and Llus Serrat play the two main characters. The poetry, simplicity, and beauty of the intimate relationship between the two is well conveyed by these unknown actors, in a return to the noble tradition of Bresson, Ermanno Olmi and Pasolini, and their masterly use of non-professionals.

Don Quixote and Sancho set off, destination unknown, in search of adventure. During the journey, their discussions range over spiritual, knightly and practical matters, and their friendship deepens.

The plot of Don Quixote is the basis of our project, but only its basis. Its essence is to be found in the details of interpretation and symbolic meaning built up through an accumulation of apparently mundane incidents.

The influence of Yasujiro Ozu is crucial to this way of working with cinema and interpreting its beauty. We underscored this approach by avoiding a vulgar modernization of the story or a selection of its most popular passages. The only scenes left from the novel are marginal to the plot but poetically very powerful.

The remaining scenes are either invented or freely adapted from other sources (Chrtien de Troyes The Knight of the Excursion Cart, Tirant lo Blanc, historical studies of chivalry by Mart de Riquer, etc.).

I was looking for the intimacy and beauty of a purely cerebral reality, the only reality that matters in any film on Don Quixote. So much so that the script deliberately tries to confuse, with interesting parallels between the films two fictitious characters and the real people behind them, whether actors or production team. We worked on this confusion partly to create the first film about Don Quixote that used real-life Quixotes.” And conversely: to recreate the real, historical persons who might have inspired Cervantes to invent the characters in his novel. Whatever, and quite apart from any artistic merit, the film creates a powerful feeling of truth in the spectator that is the essence of its strength and magic. Having a modest budget also made this the most logical line to follow, unintentionally placing still further emphasis on such an important aspect of the film.

To convey the atmosphere in images we went for the interpretative originality of our two actors, Llus Carb and Llus Serrat. Both are non-professionals, unknowns, as were all the actors used by Bresson and Ermanno Olmi and most of Pasolinis casts. Along with Godard and Ozu, these three directors are the inspiration behind the entire cinematic imaginarium the project draws on, and explicit homage is paid them at various points in the script.

On the technical side, our collaborators have been outstanding professionals known for their groundbreaking work. For example the films editor David Gallart (editor of Smoking Room); its director of photography, Christophe Farnarier, winner of the Photopress prize for photography, who has worked with Ken Loach and Karim Dridi; and the musician Cristian Vogel, prestigious musical producer known the world over for his original sound tracks.

The Shoot

The filming of Quixotic began on August 16, 2004 and its final scenes were in the can by spring 2005. Using natural exteriors, it has been shot mostly in Alt Empord (St. Climent Sescebes, St. Miquel de Colera, Albany, St. Pere de Rodes) with occasional scenes in Pla de lEstany (Vilademuls, Foncoberta) and La Garrotxa (Les Preses), near Girona (Catalonia).

Quixotic had a budget of 360,000 euros and is produced by Andergraun Films, with Notro Films as Associate Producer. Notro is also handling the distribution. Featuring Don Quixote and idealism as its central themes, it has not received any kind of public funding. The editor is David Gallart, and the original music is by Ferran Font and Cristian Vogel.