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"Noticia de un secuestro": Film Adaptations Of García Márquez's Work

With regard to the launch of the trailer for "Noticia de un secuestro", an Amazon Prime series based on the book by Gabriel García Márquez, we take a tour of the film adaptations of the work of the Colombian Nobel Prize winner.

Still from the series 'News of a Kidnapping'

Photo: YT-Prime Video

LatinAmerican Post | Luis Alberto Garduño

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Leer en español: "Noticia de un secuestro": Adaptaciones cinematográficas de la obra de García Márquez

One of the main characteristics of the work of Gabriel García Márquez is, without a doubt, that way of describing not only the spaces, but also the characters, taking elements from reality and taking them to fantasy, giving rise to magical realism. Several attempts have been made to bring the work of the Colombian author to the screen. However, it is this year that for the first time a Colombian production will adapt one of his works.  In this article, we present a brief review and take a tour of some film adaptations of the Colombian Nobel Prize winner, Gabriel García Márquez.

The first Colombian adaptation of García Márquez's work

“Noticia de un secuestro” a work based on real events, narrates the kidnappings of several journalists and relatives of important Colombian politicians in the early 1990s at the hands of Pablo Escobar in order to pressure the then government to obtain pardons and benefits for drug traffickers. Starring Cristina Umaña (Capadocia, Narcos) and Juan Pablo Raba (The Toad Cartel, Gentlemen Prefer Brutes), this Colombian production arrives on Prime Video on August 12.

"Chronicle of a Death Foretold" (Italy, France, Colombia, 1987)

Bayardo San Román and Ángela Vicario get married. However, San Román returns Ángela to her house upon realizing that she is not a virgin, she blames Santiago Nasar and it is her brothers seeking to defend the family's honor who announce that they would kill Santiago. If you have ever read the book, you will realize that the beginning of the story involves the death of the main character and the development of the story is gradually discovering how he died. The problem with any adaptation of this work lies in the number of characters and this is no exception. In addition to not delving into the characters, the film loses the essence of the journalistic and police investigation book, which also makes it lose some meaning.

"No One Writes to the Colonel " (Mexico, France, Spain, 1999)

Directed by Mexican filmmaker Arturo Ripstein and starring Fernando Lujan, Melisa Paredes and Salma Hayek. This film was released in 1999 based on the homonymous novel by García Márquez, centered on the story of a colonel who every Friday waits for the letter that should notify him of the payment of his pension that will never arrive . One of the most endearing characters in the work of the Colombian writer. This film complies with the adaptation of the work, since it makes the protagonist endearing and has great performances.

"Love in the time of cholera" (United States, 2007)

It was in 2007 that the adaptation of this work was brought to the big screen. “Love in the time of cholera” tells the story of Florentino Ariza, played by Javier Barden, and Fermina Daza, played by Giovanna Mezzogiorno, who fell passionately in love from their youth. However, everything changes when she decides to marry another doctor, Juvenal Urbino, and it is Florentino who has to wait to be with the love of his life. Directed by Mike Newell this adaptation was not well received by critics. One of the main reasons is because of the way the story is told in advance, a very fast way that doesn't give time to empathize with the characters.

"Of love and other demons" (Costa Rica, Colombia, 2009)

Located in the colonial period in Colombia, Sierva María is a girl who is confined in a convent where the ignorance and prejudices of the time make her life an ordeal. It was García Márquez himself who gave the rights to his work to Hilda Hidalgo for the production of this film. Released in 2009 and in a co-production between Costa Rica, Colombia, this film does not represent the book well. The film becomes slow and does not end up delving into some characters. In addition, it wastes the locations, a film that fell short of the story.

"Memories of My Melancholy Whores " (Denmark, Mexico, Spain, United States, 2011)

A journalist who is about to turn 90 wants to treat himself to a night of love with a virgin teenager with whom he falls in love. Perhaps the synopsis of this film adaptation of García Márquez's work may seem a bit simple. However, the complexity of the main character and how it shows it, an older person who wants to continue feeling, gives a good adaptation of the work. However, the plot can be a bit sensitive, not suitable for all audiences due to the subject it deals with.

Also read: "Elvis" Review: Another Frenetic Biopic

And the Colombian adaptations of García Márquez's work?

Perhaps one of the main reasons why there had not been a one hundred percent Colombian production of García Márquez's works lies in the complexity of the author's work. It is the Latin American countries that have had a better approach to the work of the Colombian writer from the cinema. However, there have been many who have dared to carry out this feat, mostly in a somewhat disastrous way, and the complexity of these texts lies in the descriptive form that the author has, in addition to the many characters he uses. .

A clear example is without a doubt the adaptation of the play “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. It was in 2020 that Netflix announced that it would bring the story in series format to its platform and the news so far is that they are looking for the cast. The series format could benefit the development of these stories, since they allow a greater depth of the characters, in addition to allowing Colombian productions to give them all the context from which García Márquez served as inspiration. We can only wait for the premiere of "Noticia de un secuestro" and "One Hundred Years of Solitude" to find out if the series format does the work justice.