Outshining Aura: How Modernist Film Refashions the Myth of Don Quixote

Esther Sánchez-Pardo

Published Online: 2017-11-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0016

Abstract

This paper aims at examining the first Don Quixote sound film The Adventures of Don Quixote, directed by G.W. Pabst in 1933, as well as the songs and musical themes that two great French composers, Ravel and Ibert composed for the Russian baritone Feodor Chaliapin, the protagonist of this first feature film. It was originally planned as a multilingual project for a European and a larger world audience (English, French and German) that might understand Don Quixote as a classic-cum-modernist cultural product of the incipient technological era. In an attempt to disentangle the complex sociohistorical, intellectual and economic forces at play in the crystallisation of a myth for modern times (20th century and beyond), I approach Pabst’s film version with recourse to the Frankfurt School’s valuable critique and insights on notions such as the aura, instrumental reason, myth, and the culture industry.

Keywords: Don Quixote (film)G.W. Pabstinstrumental reasonmythculture industry

Featured Image Credits:Don Quixote-film 1915| © Courtesy of New York Public Library


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