Alatriste's Scarf

Source: joanmundet.com

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© Joan Mundet.
 
It is almost an obligation for me to write a few lines about Alatriste; I've been drawing this character since October 2000, and our relationship is long and intense. Little by little, he has occupied more of my days and hours, he has become part of the ordinary conversations with my friends and relatives, he is one more member of our family. I recognize his tics, his clear and silent gaze, his gesture of anger in the face of human stupidity, and the clarity of knowing that right after we are born, we begin to die.

Now he has materialized again in a character with flesh and bones, represented of course, but also lived, by the actor Viggo Mortensen.

I saw the movie at the premiere, certainly on a very hot day, and I was able to enjoy it with Alatriste-Viggo. I recognized his clarity, his anger, and his fair, concise and thoughtful way of speaking.

In the movie, there may be gaps in the editing, and some situations are not clearly explained, but Viggo's work is perfect. It's him, it's Alatriste; more or less blonde, with more or less lovers, the scar on his left brow replaced by the one on the right side of his mouth, with more or less hair, with or without Lebrijana, with the dimple like Kirk Douglas... but like Arturo rightly said: he is the same one that has been roaming around the house for the last six years.

I think that the majority of us who read Arturo Perez-Reverte, whether we read the graphic novel or watch the movie, can recognize part of ourselves or of somebody else in the person of Diego Alatriste y Tenorio, no matter where we come from.

Well into night after seeing the movie I was able to congratulate Viggo for his work.

We talked for a while and I gave him the drawing that accompanies this article, and when he saw that Viggo-Alatriste was wearing the scarf, he pointed out in his Buenos Aires accent: "And he is wearing the scarf... Of course, the scarf is an important element in this story; it heals wounds in the night raids, and during the movie and at the end of it, it helps Copons", and grabbing the scarf he had by his side, he showed it to me and told me: "Look, it's really worn out and it has some bullet holes; it was in Rocroi, but it survived."

He is a very good actor and he knows how to captivate others; I didn't really know if one year after finishing the movie he still travels with Alatriste's scarf in his pocket or if he grabbed the first one that he found, but it was the same for that matter, I saw the dirty, worn-out, full-of-holes scarf of Diego Alatriste after Rocroi.

And maybe he hit the nail right on the head; maybe the captain's scarf is a very subtle synopsis of what Alatriste represents: a long-suffering support, some help, and comfort for all of us.
Last edited: 17 January 2007 03:02:41
© Joan Mundet. Images © Joan Mundet.