Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Windmills of "Volver"

I've been thinking about La Mancha recently.  Through a serendipitous coincidence, I'm reading Don Quixote on the (wedge) heels of having watched Pedro Almodovar's Volver, both of which are set in La Mancha.

Indeed, La Mancha is Almodovar's childhood home, and he builds the famed windmills into his plot.  As the characters drive from their Aunt Paula's home to Raimunda's home, they pass a row of modern windmills,

much different from these, which Don Quixote probably would have engaged in a jousting match.

All this rumination on windmills reminds me of the song "The Windmills of Your Mind," first performed by Noel Harrison, with music composed by Michel Legrand, who has written music for a number of films.  "Windmills," for instance, was used in The Thomas Crowne Affair (1968). 

I won't mention The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, for which he may be best known, because I've already mentioned it here, but will pause to give a fresh shout-out to the beautiful film Cleo from 5 to 7 by Agnes Varda, in which Legrand performs. 

Returning to La Mancha, to borrow from the title of Almodovar's film (volver means "to return"), a monument has been erected there to honor Almodovar, one designed to "frame" La Mancha in a cinematic manner. 

The architects used the "wide-screen" approach:

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