Don Quijote | Chapter 11: The Great Peacemaker, versus Money
Multi-lingual with English, French and Spanish subtitles, 16 channel video installation, 2019
11: The Great Peacemaker, versus Money
Don Quijote is not only the knight who aggressively tries but fails to do good, however; he can also be conciliatory, a peacemaker. But as always with such well-meant attempts to do good, the reasons seem ambivalent. His intervention appears to be related to money, to the class system and Don Quijote’s alleged nobility, to militia/police forces he considers oppressive, and to a wish to boast that he is better than others. Everything seems intertwined, and nothing neatly fits the good/bad binary.
In the inn, here, the terrace of a contemporary restaurant, people are talking, simply having a good time. We hear the rumour, louder and louder, but not what they are talking about. They speak in different languages. There are no subtitles in this first part of the episode. Two people, sitting near the door, look around and walk out. Suddenly, someone shouts out: “Some people are trying to sneak out without paying!” That person goes after them and tries to stop them from leaving. This is enough for a general fight to break out. The other customers throw themselves on those who try to leave without paying. For justice, or out of envy that they wouldn’t dare? But this time it is Don Quijote who makes peace, simply because he doesn’t see the point of the dispute. Money doesn’t seem worth it. There are more pressing issues to fight for. The scene has an anti-capitalist tenor, without turning Don Quijote into a saint. Sancho reminds him, and us, of othermoments when the knight himself attempted something similar. While based on a scene from the novel and literal quotations, it rings a loud bell with today’s extreme capitalism.
This is one of the only two “crowd” episodes of the project. The other one is the beginning of “The Failure of Listening”, during the wedding. In this piece, we see some of the characters who appear in other scenes as well, such as the “historians” who discuss the value and possibility of history in the episode “Who is Don Quijote?” Moreover, it is the only episode where Françoise Davoine, advisor and muse of the project is visible. She is the one who goes after the non-payers. In other episodes, we hear some of her statements on the novel. We treat her presence as special, and deploying some key pronouncements in voice-over, we wish to mark that importance. but without following her study in detail; this project is not an adaptation of her book.
Image: Toni Simó Mulet