Don Quixote and Lost in La Mancha

May 23, 2017 Cultural

Don Quixote and Lost in La Mancha

The narrative of Don Quixote and the film Lost in La Mancha stresses and illustrates author Miguel De Cervantes, and film directors??™ Louis Pepe and Keith Lutton??™s ideals and values of the fantasy world and a human??™s ability to be ???passionately insane.??? Cervantes original novel has been appropriated to reflect societies cultural values that have been preserved in a relatively compatible manner. The context and significance of these texts can be most easily portrayed within the strong relationship of the two leading characters, superstitions and language/film devices. These techniques all arise the questionable implications of the human condition, and the theme of man against society.

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It is of high importance, to recognize the cultural context of the texts, and how the concepts came to be. It is imperative for the readers to have a brief understanding of Miguel De Cervantes??™s military life style and his enlistment in army at the tender age of twenty-one. He fought against Turkey at the sea followed by Italy on the land. Many of Cervantes war circumstances, can be reflected in Don Quixote. His mistrust and bias judgments towards foreign and alien countries is evident within his text; an example of this is when the priest and barber unquestionably burn all the Italian books in Quixote??™s household, believing they are detrimental to a human??™s conscious. In a sense, Quixote is almost a historical novel recounting the scenario of the Spanish and English war; these can be referred throughout in chapter XXXIX. To live a chivalrous lifestyle, was of high importance in Cervantes era; it represented the protection of the weak, respect towards women and the heroic performance of good deeds.
Miguel Cervantes proves that a strong imagination is necessary to lead a fulfilling life. He saw life how it should be through his ideals rather than the reality of it. The context of Lost in La Mancha can be most easily sighted within the central character??™s lifestyle: Terry Gilliam. Gilliam is a film director who makes films based on imaginative fantasies. You can say, he shares the same passion for fantasy worlds and the importance of imagination, with Cervantes. Cervantes and Gilliam??™s work, both raise awareness to the identity and sanity of a human??™s psyche. The common link between both texts is there ideal of insanity, which is perceived as an individual??™s violation of social norms. In the documentary, Gilliam works hard to achieve the perfect appropriation of Cervantes work, within a modern context.

The relationship between Don Quixote and Terry Gilliam is unmistakably parallel. defines the literary term of ???don Quixote??? as an impractical idealist on righting incorrigible wrongs. This is almost a metaphor, for the akin commonalities of the two main characters within each text. Both Don Quixote himself and the central character of Terry Gilliam are led by their blinding passion and corresponding visions and ambitions. In the end these delusional goals, are broken by reality??™s harsh slap. They are so oblivious to the real world by their irrational goals, that they don??™t accept standard explanations for the truth. Gilliam, under bizarre circumstances, ???unintentionally??? created an appropriation of an attempted appropriation. His original proposition was to create the man who killed Don Quixote, which is a film based on Cervantes original literary piece, within a 21st century element. An advertising executive (Johnny Depp) unwillingly travels from modern day London, to the world of Don Quixote; who dubiously mistakes him for Sancho Panza. The whole project tragically collapses due to a series of disastrous event. However, Gilliam still succeeds in being part of a modern appropriation of Cervantes classical text. This can be seen in the characters transformation into insanity when they share an unattainable motivation, sparked by the smallest glimpse of passion. Lost in La Mancha portrays Don Quixotes refusal to accept social conventions in a modern environment.

Each character undergoes a type of quest, in which completely controls and compels them. For Don Quixote, the more books of Chivalries adventures of honorable knights he reads, the more oblivious to reality he becomes. Quixote becomes intensely insane as he tries to go on a ???knights errant??? and bring order to a vociferous and violent world. In the end he is faced with a fatal fever, and is able to explain his separation between madness and sanity. It is at this point, we realize, with the death of Quixote, comes the death of fantasy, as well as the death of all Honor and heroics. It makes it hard to say if Quixote was a irrational character, or a respectable hero, that tried to bring just to a world of violence. It is agreeable that Cervantes tried to reflect on the death of the ???gallivant knights??? culture of that time. He was trying to stress to the readers the importance of honor and integrity, especially in the midst of war. Gilliam takes on the ideal of death of imagination, when his film production fails. This is adapted within a modern society, where he stands as the only person capable of intense imagination, and when his fantasy dies in the form of his production, so does the hope for all his crew. Within the two texts, we can see the pros and cons of the fantasy world. Quixote and Gilliam both evoke a mood of laughter and pity, within a satirical sense. There is a pang of jealously felt, knowing that these two characters are at the high stake of happiness, in their world of fantasy- a place which provides people with other dull lives the benefits of the imagination. On the contrary, the dangers between fantasy and reality are consequential. Along side fantasy is the lack of ability to reason with rational perspective. This is seen when the priest finds Quixote??™s ideals ridiculous and refuses to empathise with his absurdist view. This is not to say that Quixotes understands the priest??™s realistic objectives, hence the dangers of conflict. The fact that Quixote is so driven by his fantasy means his is unable to tell when he has harmed or offended someone. This emphasizes Cervantes point about fantasy and realities conflicting mores and outlooks, what may be accepted in on ???world??? isn??™t entirely acceptable in the next.

Lost in La Mantra, has appropriated the concept of fantasy to adjust to a modern society. The whole ideal of a 21st century twist of the man who killed Quixote is used to demonstrate the lack of fantasy in modern society, and the nine to five mechanical and industrial society in its place. In another sense, it can be used to reflect the cultural value of man living in a chaotic world and ignorant to the devastating truths (e.g. Environmental, political affairs, wars, religious conflicts etc.)

The very same string of madness occupied by Don Quixote is perceived in Terry Gilliam, whose very obsessions bring about disastrous results. In the beginning of the documentary, he warns his crew to not be afraid to tell him when something is too complicated or expensive to do. However, artistic desires gets the best of him as he strives for unattainable heights, and rejects the harsh and honest feed back from his crew (idea of not being able to accept rationality.) Terry Gilliam ???wants his films to be seen and enjoyed by the wildest audience possible,??? this can also be a reflection of the chaotic and madness within modern society, and their need to be entertained. This is the same circumstances as Don Quixote with the Priest and his sidekick Sancho Panza, and the implications it pursuits with confliction in communication and understanding that has been evident through out all of human life (past/present.)

An interesting factor raised, is the superstitious curse of Don Quixote, where anyone who tries to create an appropriation of Cervante??™s novel will horrendously fail. The curse is embedded in the text within the second volume:

???For me alone was Don Quixote born, and I for him; me to act and I to record; in a word, we were destined for each other??¦ let the wearied and moldering bones of Don Quixote rest in the grave.???

The nature goes as following, Cervantes expresses those that try to adapt his work are destined to become Quixote himself. It is as if Gilliam has been doomed with the curse, inhabiting much of Quixotes characteristics, and as well as Cervantes who has reflected much of himself in the story. It shows a man who gets enticed by books within a book, and Lost in La Mantra shows a man mesmerized by a film within a film. This could possibly be a reflection of society and there own fascination and interaction with the fantasy world.

Don Quixote and Terry Gilliam are both symbolic of the theme man vs society. Freedom is a right and privilege for anything living. Interestingly enough, society has been found to work against the liberty of a man, who repels against social norms. This is a perfect example of the characters disability to be understood, and for them to understand others.

Cervantes use of comical and complex dialogue evokes a satirical parody of society. There is a massive divergence between the civilian??™s languages; the innkeeper and ???maidens???etc. speak more colloquial and less formal. Where as, Don Quixote speaks with formal, noble language with no use of slang or jargon, to represent his status as an honorable knight. The differences between the characters dialogue portrays the distinguished line between reality and fantasy, and there diverging beliefs. Cervantes goes into extreme depth, and uses vivid imagery, to paint the surroundings in a picturesque manner. This arises Cervantes belief in the power of art, and how it reflects social conventions and views. Cervantes also spends a lot of time, describing different knight tales and knights, to give a clear and concise image of Quixotes fantasy, and how easy it to get its realistic environment, confused with fiction and non. The film techniques in Lost in La Mantra remain fairly bleak. This highlights the simplicity and austere mannerism in reality, and to emphasize the contrast between real life and the eccentric Gilliam. Gilliam and his process, is placed in animation with vibrant and buoyant colors, which emphasize his enthusiasm and anomalous person. The animation is also a form of juxtaposition, as he is drawn as a bland human character, placed on a radical background symbolic of fantasy.

Lost in La mantra and Don Quixote??™s cultural significance is of high accent. Don Quixote reflects the trauma and hardship Spain was going through during the wars; and in reverse, Cervantes has manage to portray a bright and stimulating image, of the society. It reflects a parody of many other Chivalry stories, but his remains most successful in portraying the most idol knight. Cervantes preaches the importance of a knight codes and society is able to adapt and reflect on the significance of honor and integrity. Lost in La Mantra, is able to appropriate the cultural significance portrayed in Don Quixote, and display the importance of fantasy and imagination, to a modern audience.

Don Quixote and Lost in La Mancha portray Miguel De Cervantes, Louis Pepe and Keith Lutton??™s perspective of the fantasy world and how it positively and negatively affects a person??™s rational perspective. The two texts portray, in a past and present context, how passion can drive a person to the point of insanity, and deprive them of empathy towards social conventions, until faced with disastrous results. With the use of various techniques and devices, the cultural values and significance of war, imagination, fantasy and knight??™s honor, have been described in Don Quixote and respectively appropriated in Lost in La Mantra; so that it is relevant to a modern audience.


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