A Comedy of Passions
Reg’d © Library of Congress
The modern Don Juan is a woman in disguise—both a womanizer and a manizer, and active in both fields. Famous, indeed legendary, she wears high boots, a flowing white shirt and a stylish little mustache, as if she’d just stepped out of the 17th century—everything but the sword. She climbs balconies, changes lovers as fast as if she were dancing and displays her sharp and wounding wit (in a way she does carry a sword) whenever it can win her a conquest.
Trouble is, she likes to gamble, and isn’t nearly as lucky at cards as she is at love. She loses fortunes, and is obliged to marry—in her role as a man. But her wife, and then a wife she steals, die, and those who had stood to inherit believe she murdered them.
She’s been indicted, she’s a fugitive from justice, and now she’s making a video about what really happened—her testimony to the judge whom she dare not face in person. Her adventures take her from Seville to Switzerland to Turkey to a Greek island to Rio de Janeiro (so versatile are the locations to be had in Athens)—
—because not only is she a Don Juan out of Byron and Mozart, she is an Angelique, thrust everywhere by life, always generous, always gorgeous, always victorious—
—well, at least until she meets Celeste (Skyrah Archer, reel), and encounters in her an aristocracy of feeling that compels in Don Juan the love she usually commands from others. And Celeste loves her—as a man. What happens when she finds out Don Juan is a woman?
Leporello (Duncan Skinner, reel), Don Juan's servant and foil, misses no chance to contradict, insult or belittle "him"—"Indeed, sir"—though they have an affectionate bond.
Rich widow Pucci Winkleman (Laura Mamakos) and the Don fall in love and marry. When she finds out he's a woman she conspires with him to keep it a secret—
—even from her sister-in-law Philistia (MariaCristina Heller, reel) And when Pucci accidentally falls from a high place, and Philistia doesn't inherit, she begins an obsessive quest for revenge.
Livingston Bartlet (Fiona Georgiadi, reel) rescues the Don from a gambling fiasco, and the Don rescues her from a husband she can't bear. When she is hit by a train—
—Wade Barlet (Tom Malloy, reel) joins Philistia in her campaign to prevent Don Juan from enjoying their money.
While gambling with some of it the Don is drugged and kidnapped by an Emirate sultan (Joe E. Legend, reel) and taken to a house on the Turkish coast—
—where she is caught in the bath with—
—the Sultan's seventh wife (Nefeli Kouri, reel). She escapes (Don Juan, that is), abandons herself to the sea and swims to Chios, where she emerges nude before—
—the unbearably proper Roger Humphrey (Ian Robertson, reel), who falls in love. Relieved by Don Juan's facility with disguise, he takes "her" home—
—where his wife Thomasina (Alice Triarchis) falls in love with "him." He is on the point of escaping when in walks Celeste, whom he had loved at first sight in Seville years earlier, with her domineering husband—
—Bloke Bletherington (Adrian Frieling, reel), a Blackwater type with worldwide connections. When he takes "her" to Rio and drowns by accident—
—Don Juan is on the run.
The music, performed by Athens guitarist Mentor Soula, includes Historia de un Amor, and selections from The Barber of Seville, Don Giovanni and Isaac Albéniz’s Sevilla.
Pretentious Pictures presents The Trial of Don Juan, A Comedy of Passions
Reg’d © Library of Congress