GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ…A Witch Writing
A Biography In His Own Words. A Film by Yves Billon and Mauricio Martinez-Cavard
52 Minutes Produced by Les Films du Village Presented by Planet Group Entertainment
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel prize-winning author of such luminous novels as 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' and 'Love In The Time Of Cholera', was born in 1928 in the tiny Caribbean village of Aracataca, situated in a tropical region of northern Colombia in the home of his grandfather, a pensioned colonel from the civil war at the beginning of the century. This is the setting for the imaginary, magical world of his writing, and the setting for this very special film…a wondrous recreation of the life and times that gave birth to his own lyrical creations…
"When Oprah picked Marquez as her "Writer of the Month", she wanted to invite Marquez on the show. He declined, suggesting this film as the definitive interview with him. Clips from the film were then used to introduce the audience to the writer."
‘Whether writing short stories, epic novels, non-fiction or screenplays, Gabo, as he is affectionately known, is above all a brilliant storyteller. His writing is a tribute to both the power of the imagination and the mysteries of the human heart. In Gabo’s world, where flowers rain from the sky, and dictators sell the very ocean, reality is subject to emotional truths as well as physical boundaries. It is a world of great beauty and great cruelty, a world where love brings both redemption and enslavement; and a world where the lines between objective reality and dreams are hopelessly blurred. It is a world very much like our own.”
Gabo takes a call from "Oprah".
The film reveals the author as a skillful and spellbinding storyteller, taking us from birth ("Since I was born I had known I would be a writer.") to the turning points in his life that formed him and his body of work. The first eight years of Gabo’s life are spent at the house of his grandfather. They are the only two males in a house full of women; women who live in a supernatural world of curanderas, brujas and sorcery. Here, everything is possible and part of everyday life. For them the ordinary world is but a veil behind which lurk beings far beyond normal human ken. Their influence becomes important to the boy's own way of thinking.
Grandfather is much more down to earth. The ‘Colonel’ plays a pivotal role in the boy’s life, and his future literature. The old man speaks to Gabo as an adult, of the realities and politics of their turbulent country. When his grandfather dies and the young Gabriel is sent off to boarding school, he is torn away from his fantastic childhood world. But the stories lay deep in his memory. The nostalgia for this land of 'magical realism' would be the wellspring and "even the longest life would not be enough to tell about it."
But Marquez will always travel between the two worlds of magic and reality, and the paradoxes of his past give rise to the complex, finely woven threads of future narration. In Bogota, a turning point comes for the young law student when he reads of Franz Kafka's 'Metamorphose', from the first line: "Grégoire Samas awoke one morning from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed into a giant insect."
The story also transforms the struggling young law student. A moment of truth ("That is the way I think!"), and Marquez finds his own writing voice. He pens his first short story, and never looks back, breaking his law studies for his work as a journalist.
In the late 1940's, against a climate of social and political unrest in Colombia, military plunder and the torching of his Bogota law school, Marquez returned to the Caribbean, to work as a journalist and short-story writer. But the perspective he requires to write about his grandfather and the convoluted politics of Colombia take him first to Rome in 1954, where he was sent on assignment by his newspaper, then to Paris, where he becomes acutely aware of his Caribbean culture.
It is the "Time of the Dictators", and Paris is full of other Latin American expatriates: Peru, Santo Domingo, Venezuela. All live in the same neighborhood, awaiting news from their respective countries, all in the throes of unrest. A hoarse shout from a window, "He has fallen!", and everyone rushes to the streets, thinking it 'their own' dictator!
Even though he was Colombia’s most famous citizen long before he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, Gabo has mostly lived abroad in a sort of self-imposed exile. His home in Bogata has never been his main residence. He and his wife and family have for many years spent most of their time in Mexico City and part of the year in their other homes in Cuernavaca, Barcelona, Paris, Havana, Cartagena, and Barranquilla, on the Caribbean coast.
Marquez writes with great insight and joyous humor, but his saddest and hardest book to complete concerns the appalling drug wars of Colombia. After forty years of unrelenting bloodshed, his country now has the dubious distinction of being the kidnapping capital of the world. Marquez uses his fame to fight this scourge of his homeland, to campaign for human rights, and to meet with world leaders, seeking solutions.
Balanced between both worlds, Gabriel Garcia Marquez looks beyond the veil of this world into the world of magical realism. Does he hold any hope for the future of this one?
This Film is licensed for Academic Library, Classroom Screenings, and Closed Campus Digital Streaming.
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