'Cholera' Chills the Detail in Epic Love Story; Able Film Suffers Compared to Garcia Marquez's Novel

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 16, 2007 | Go to article overview

'Cholera' Chills the Detail in Epic Love Story; Able Film Suffers Compared to Garcia Marquez's Novel


Byline: Jenny Mayo, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

How's he going to pull that off?

This seemed to be the question looming around filmmaker Mike Newell ("Donnie Brasco," "Enchanted April") when it was announced that he would direct an adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's beloved 1985 novel, "Love in the Time of Cholera."

Could a two-hour film possibly do justice to an epic love story spanning both half a century and several hundred pages of ornate detail? Would the Nobel Prize-winning author's subtleties be lost in the planned translation to English, just like the double meaning of the word "cholera" in the book's title has been? (In Spanish, the word means both the disease cholera and rage, and each of these definitions operates within the text.)

The answer to these questions is embedded in the opening scenes of Mr. Newell's adaptation. We see leaves so green that the theater practically hums with the moist, cool breeze of the Colombian coastal city where the film takes place - the Cartagena of the late 1800s and early 1900s. When a pet parrot that's gotten loose bounds into the picture, the tableau looks like something pulled right out of a vibrant Diego Rivera painting.

Dr. Juvenal Urbino (Benjamin Bratt, looking quite senior through the magic of makeup) mounts a ladder to collect the offending bird and proceeds to fall to his untimely death.

Garcia Marquez fans will recall that this isn't the death that kick-started the written work - that would be the suicide of 60-year-old Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, a friend of Dr. Urbino's who decided to take his own life (with the help of a secret lover) rather than grow old. The incident slowly warms readers to the book's central themes of love, loss and longing, hidden truths, aging and compromise.

In contrast, the film - written by Ronald Harwood ("The Pianist") with cinematography by Alfonso Beato ("The Queen") - seems less interested in getting viewers in the mood than cutting to the chase. It teems with visual delights, from the picture-perfect scenery to the gorgeous period costumes worn by its handsome cast. Yet it stumbles a bit in matters involving third and fourth dimensions, often reducing things to their simplest essence and effectively glossing over the minute detail and nuance that are Mr. Garcia Marquez's hallmarks.

All of the novel's key events are here. The doctor dies. An aging Florentino Ariza (Javier Bardem in a surprising contrast to his "No Country for Old Men" role) approaches his widow, Fermina (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), and professes his undying love for her. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'Cholera' Chills the Detail in Epic Love Story; Able Film Suffers Compared to Garcia Marquez's Novel
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.