The furtive reader: “Love in the time of cholera”, the movie

Raphael Alfonso

On this occasion, somewhat contrary to today’s festive atmosphere, I will comment on the film adaptation of a novel by Gabriel García Márquez that left me absolutely unsatisfied. I realize it now that it is threatened to be adapted as a series “One Hundred Years of Solitude” with the distant hope that the same does not happen.

Speaking of the Colombian’s masterpiece, a street anecdote tells us that Anthony Quinn was interested in buying the rights to it, to which the author always refused, but in the case of him, he told him that he would accept a million dollars for finance Latin American revolutions; then, the extraordinary -and capitalist- Mexican / American actor of Irish descent, gave up his attempt.

And it is not that García Márquez was oblivious to the seventh art, on the contrary, he studied cinematography in Italy, and presided over the Foundation for New Latin American Cinema. In Mexico he wrote the extraordinary scripts for “There are no thieves in this town.”Time to Die” and “The golden rooster”; the last two, in separate collaborations with the talented writers of Carlos Fuentes and Juan Rulfo himself.

Although, so far, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” he has gotten rid of going through the screens; the one that was not so lucky was “Love in the time of cholera”, a novel of conflicted loves that, according to García Márquez, are a faithful reflection of the love of their parents.

Based on the novel of the same name, “Love in the time of cholera” (2007) was directed by Mike Newell, produced by Scott Steindorff who, in love with the story, chased the Colombian Nobel Prize winner for years until finally, for three million dollars, he obtained the film rights, in exchange for the promise (broken) not to make the typical Hollywood movie.

Rejected by Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman, among others, Steindorf made the decision to form a casting favoring “Latin” figures -in the way that Hollywood understands the concept-, which ended up playing against the film.

John Leguizamo, an actor of undeniable talent, but unrepentant swallows years, fails to embody the proud and haughty father of Fermina Daza and much less taking into account that he does not look much like the actress who is supposed to be his daughter, the beautiful and discreet Giovanna Mezzogiorno. Benjamin Bratt, best known in Mexico for playing the young cop in the gang drama “blood against blood”, is far from the image of the privileged and sophisticated Dr. Juvenal Urbino. The last straw was that there was no way to hide the overwhelming personality of the now Oscar-winning Javier Bardem, to make way for the melancholic, scary and dreamy Florentino Ariza.

As a final point, the standard-bearer of all this Latin selection could not be other than Shakira, what a disservice she does to the film with her scratchy and imposed gurgles, installed in the most vulgar pop that the Colombian is capable of.

All of the above creates an experience that is at least disappointing for those who have read and like this novel; but as the old man used to say: “If worthwhile things were done easily, anyone would do them”.

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