DON QUIXOTE, UKRAINE AND RUSSIA
In 2007 I took a graduate class on film and literature at the University of Zaragoza. One of my classmates was Ukranian. We became friends. He was writing a dissertation in Spanish, and he asked me to help him correct it. When the academic year ended, he went back to Kiev, finished his Ph.D. and worked as an interpreter for a time. But, as he told me in an email a few weeks ago, “I got tired of poverty”, and he now lives in Canada with his wife and his son.
One afternoon in the Spring of 2007, our teacher was talking about literary adaptations, and about the differences between the language of film and the language of books. She showed us a part of the Don Quixote adaptation that Grigori Kozintsev directed in 1957. She told us a few things about the typical idealism of “this Russian film”. I noticed my classmate seemed a bit uncomfortable.
“Actually,” he said, “it would be more accurate to say it was a Soviet movie.”
The teacher kept talking. She went on referring to the movie as a “Russian film”. My classmate spoke again.
“As I said, it would be better to say it was a Soviet film. In the production files it says Soviet Union. The movie was filmed in Russian. The director was from the Ukraine, he was born in Kiev, and the film was shot in Kiev.
“Well, it makes no difference,” replied the teacher.