LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA
DIRECTOR: MIKE NEWELL
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Affonso Beato
CAST: Benjamin Pratt as Juvenal, Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Fermina, Javier Bardem as Florentino, Marcela Mar and a few other names as extras here and there.
Movies have always had a famous battle with well known writers ... go for the writer's sentiment and lose the film audience, or go for the film clichés and lose the literary audience, and be open to criticism.
I always thought that Film, is the modern literature, since the written word
is no longer as important and viable as it once was about how people could think
and live. Unfortunately, today, more often than not the movie audience wins out
and the stories lose their literary flavor. In many cases this doesn’t look
good. But then that’s like saying no one can do a modern Shakespeare and you and
I know that is not true. There are many very good modern Shakespeare's that
stand out beautifully. And today, they can be found in film and during these
times, the "written word" has lost a lot of its meaning amidst advertising and
the media, where all the interests are rarely literary or artistic. Sort of like
saying that no one might know, or care, about Harry Potter, if it had not been
for the films.
But once in a while, someone has great care and understanding for a work (or writer) and if he makes the film you know that it is going to be good. And it isn't the first time that Mike Newell has taken to a novel ... and done a beautiful job with it. It should be listed as one of literary accomplishments that the film did not take the Hollywood look and feel and stuck to the story and narration and made sure that it was all just as vivid as the book makes it out to be. Maybe the counting is not necessary, as it made me think that this man was a stud out to hire for another affair, which the book does not place a lot of importance in, as much as it does on the torment and the main character's life and emptiness inside.
Film wise this may not seem that great. But acting wise, mixed with the very specific and careful characterizations that Gabriel Garcia Marquez is known for, and a very good director that understands literature (and enjoys it) …
What do you have?
A magnificent film. Probably sad in many ways, but a very nicely
told story, beautifully acted, and you never get the feeling that any of the
parts or extras are not just ornaments in a room ... it all seems alive and a
part of it all.
The story is in Colombia, after the Great War (in their terms) and Florentino works for a Telegraph service. He delivers one telegram one day and falls in love with Fermina. Unfortunately she is already promised to someone else of higher standing (a doctor), and in this case something that is really big in Latin America where some standards of "superiority" are measured not only by financial stature, but also educational status, and Florentino ... is just a well to do kid, not educated like the one that is being promised to Fermina.
The novel, and the story is about Florentino. he never relinquishes the love he has for Fermina and makes an attempt or two to meet her, and it never works. When her husband dies 50 years later he shows up at the funeral to pay his requests. Maybe he can connect with her is his hope? Only the novel will tell you that … in the movie who knows? … even though this upsets her, in the end it becomes some solace for her. And they have their time. Finally. There is justice in the world of poetry after all!
It would be really easy to fall into cheesy, sexy or just a boring story and its many love affairs. In the end we have a film that not only makes a book come alive, but creates a good feeling inside of us ... even dreams come alive ... and hopes never die.
With outstanding performances by all main parties, if there is a weaker one it would be Fermina's husband, but that is more likely because Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Javier Bardem pretty much take this film away ... and all everyone else can do is admire it.
Beautiful cinematography and lots of scenery to enjoy and appreciate. On some reviews it is mentioned that there is a lot of gratuitous nudity in this film, but never once does it seem like this is a peephole, or an abuse of the privilege. And if those reviewers only saw the nudity, I am not sure that they were there for the literature ... or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who remains the star even after the film. You will remember the story a heck of a lot more, and want to read the book, than anything else.
Unlike many other films ... this is a real novel ... and you can enjoy it at home or in the theater. And this time the movie is just as good.
Please email me with questions and/or comments
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