Still fueled with Soviet revolutionary zeal even in the 1950's, the film duly signposts the paved way to good intentions having the reverse affect but within its shrouds lifts them up to whisper the call for an overthrow of a decadent elite.
When Don Quixote is brought to the royal court for yet another humiliation the cry of the dispossessed rings around the hollow spaces and empty faces. Whilst his perceived naive world is deemed as amusing, within his jest lies a piercing vision of a life without them.
The film is set in 1950's Crimea, although, when you sit down you soon forget the setting and like a magical Grimm's nursery tale, it pulls you into its fantastical realm, transporting the viewer back to 1605. Set at a time when the days of chivalry were long gone dead, if of course they ever existed, it shows a man who is inspired by his own personal vision. For Don Quixote feels the pangs of nostalgia for a clearer and less tangled usurped vision of the world, wanting to create a return to purity.
Urging himself to transcend time and transport himself and the world to a virtuous age where helping the poor and defenceless were life's raison d'etre, unlike the world he inhabits at present. Donning his ancient armour and persuading a reluctant peasant to share his fantasy, he embarks upon several quests to reclaim the magical vision of the life he holds in his head.
Science however has already colonised the collective thought patterns. Religion seems to have been abandoned, as there are few references to salvation through god, as the land is awash with beatings, slavery, deceit, lust, gluttony, thievery and vice. As such, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are trapped within its walls, trying to turn back the desperate tides. Each attempt to turn back the clock, brings yet more misery and humiliation. The world of doing good has long since eloped and now the world has become a fixed entity of spite.
A lush cinematic colour palette of a largely restored panoramic vision saturated in the film stock hues brings this story back to life. The Russians seem to be able to capture a sense of inherent pathos in life's mystery and misery, then draw on these feelings from a never ending well of tears, to render an existential meaningless to living. A quality that cascades throughout the film and drips through the screen.
Quixote comes over as foolish, revolutionary and mad because he is out of his time, but his vision is one that is an ideal, the same as the New Testament. Broadcasting his version of how the world should be, he is a visionary and revolutionary. The film asks a number of questions around madness and reality.
Who is really mad, those who enslave, beat or act in a false haughty presumption or those who want a clearer more humane, bizarre world to arise and become inhabited with decency?
It would have created some stir when released in Stalin's 1950's shadow.
Quixote is finally rescued from his "madness" by a man of science moving into his belief system to bring him out of it. This harks back to the truth of psychotherapy, entering into a psychosis creates the bridge for an emotional rescue as it unlocks the gate and allows them to return to social reality.
The problem for Quixote is that when he returns to the bland strictures of reality, he quickly falls into ill health, sustained only by his visions of what could be. The film works on so many allegoric levels, infused with a rich sense of the magical and inner belief.
It is well worth saddling up the donkey and then to stop any procrastination as the whole of mankind awaits.