Great art has resonance beyond itself. A great movie stays with you afterward for hours, even days. Maybe forever.
The experience of "El Cid" is rapturous because of its overwhelming sound and images, accompanied by a magnificent Miklos Rozsa score. Beyond this, the movie is unsettling in ways I can't fully describe.
In part it's Ben Yussef's sweeping screen-filling army with its thunderous drums. In part, the realistic one-on-one combats. In part, Ben Yussuf displaying the Spanish traitor he's about to insert into the Christians' midst. In part, without question, the strange bond of love-hate between Rodrigo and Chimene. Or maybe it's because the film portrays a world where there is no peace and there can be no peace; that in this tale of knights there is no Star Wars fairy-tale outcome. The strange, melancholy ending, better seen than described, is haunting.