Each field of knowledge must offer a different reading level so the epic can be experienced as a whole, to provide new knowledge, and to lead to a universal perspective on conquests and communication between peoples.
Michel Chandeigne, José Manuel Garcia et José Manuel Nunez De La Fuente, specialized French, Portuguese, and Spanish historians will tell the story in the present tense. They know the most minute details of the three-year adventure and will therefore help follow the journey’s twists. It is punctuated by so many dramatic events that contribute to building a quixotic fresco. Acting as the spine of the story, recurring speakers will be interviewed against the dark, neutral backdrop of old wood, evoking a place charged with history or old rigging hulls. Lighting and shades will be identical for all the speakers.
Romain Bertrand (France) will provide a new, contemporary vision of what are still called the “great discoveries” of Magellan’s time. These two renowned historians are turning the notion of Eurocentric conquests upside down, positioning themselves as the people who were “discovered,” thus bringing a more contemporary ideological approach. In so doing, they will subvert the distinction between discoverers and conquerors, bringing a resolutely modern outlook on the adventure.
Because Magellan’s odyssey was above all a maritime adventure, we wanted to set sail with prestigious navigators who would shed light on it. Olivier de Kersauson was happy to take on that role. In their own way, with their experience, they will tell us about seas and oceans, sailors and captains, ships and maneuvers… from their expert knowledge of Magellan’s journey and from a place of deep respect for the courage of his sailors.
While Olivier de Kersauson and European historians will accompany us throughout the four episodes to help us experience the adventure from the inside, other speakers will appear more sporadically to offer some perspective and context. They will bring a second level of interpretation to an adventure which still has modern-day consequences. They will be filmed in situ, in their studies or outside, sitting at café or restaurant tablesgra, since they will be participating incidentally, unlike the “narrators.” These scenes will be about staging encounters with characters :
Jose Mujica, the former president of Uruguay, is a learned man who is close to his people and is respected throughout South America. He will reflect upon the five hundred years since first contact was established by Magellan with the people of Argentina. Chilean philosopher Simon Gallego specializes in the exploration phase that precedes discoveries, in other words, how Magellan’s coup de theatre revolutionized the vision his contemporaries had of the world and revealed an incomplete, mostly unexplored whole.
French philosopher Olivier Remaud is interested in the solitude of captains throughout the age of major expeditions, a solitude that is intrinsic to Magellan’s character and one-way voyage.
Jerry Brotton is a British cartographer and historian who will speak about the crucial importance of maps at a time where the contours of the world were being drawn daily.
A clergyman will evoke the power of religion, the confrontation with Islam, and the evolution of perspectives.
Olivier Roelinger is a French 3-star Michelin chef who specializes in world spices. For him, spices that are used in culinary arts are a symbol of the blending of world influences and of an openness between nations.
Even though Magellan’s odyssey was a masculine adventure, several women will offer their point of view: British yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur is recognized for having successfully completed several circumnavigations of the world, and heads a foundation that defends a better transition to circular economy. She will expertly explain the lessons of sailing around the world, namely a vision of the world in its fullness and fragility.
The American Joyce Chaplin, professor of History at Harvard University, is the author of Round About the Earth, from Magellan to Orbit. She is interested in how the physical experience of circumnavigating the world contributes to a planetary consciousness, regardless of the times in which we live.
Finally, Isabel de Riquer. A specialist of Pigafetta and the translator of his Relation in Spanish, she will share her theories regarding Pigafetta’s admiration for Magellan and his motivations for embarking on the expedition.