Don Quijote | Chapter 13: She, Too
Multi-lingual with English, French and Spanish subtitles, 16 channel video installation, 2019
13: She, Too
As a prelude to, and extension of the story of captivity, this silent scene shows that confinement is not limited to actual slavery, as horrific as that extreme version of it is. In a sense, the rich and beloved daughter of a possessive father is as much a captive as are the men outside. The father behaves as her owner, as much as he considers himself the owner of the slaves who are tending his garden. The young daughter Zoraida craves her freedom, looking through the barred windows of the palatial house, but her father constantly guards her. She walks aimlessly through the castle, looking at paintings in which freedom seems to be depicted. When she looks out of the window she sees the slaves labouring and suffering. Is her longing gaze hinting that she almost envies them, since at least they are outside? Later, it turns out, she binds her fate to theirs.
Between father and daughter not a word is spoken. Nevertheless, her longing and his disapproval are conspicuous, all the time. The ideas of this scene are only implicit in Cervantes’ chapters devoted to captivity, but clear enough. Cinematically, the unequal relationship between father and daughter and her being barred from the social world is shaped by the camera that never allows us to look her in the face, whereas the father constantly looks at her face, trying to read her thoughts and emotions. And in conjunction with the episode “Woman as Anti-Suicide Bomb” it seems reasonable to attribute to the author and his text a sensitivity to what we would now call feminist issues. Love can be a captor as much as greed. Resonating with the Marcela scene, this scene makes us see longing, and its frustration.
Image: Ebba Sund