Netflix’s new challenge bets on magical realism

Netflix has released the trailer for the new series One Hundred Years of Solitude based on the homonymous book by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, a commitment that highlights – as on other occasions from Latin American cinema – the value of the author’s work.

The one-minute preview begins in a forest with the sounds of insects and birds, as the screen brings the viewer closer to a typewriter. Soon the scene is joined by background music and a narrator who pretends to be the writer.

“You don’t tell a story when you should, but when you can”, says the voice, while in the middle of the vegetation, the typewriter writes “One Hundred Years of Solitude” on its page.

“The world was so recent that many things lacked names and to mention them you had to point your finger at them,” continues the narrator, pronouncing the first lines of the homonymous book published in 1967. In turn, the screen shows the first images of Macondo, the universe created by the Colombian author.

A crowd is working in a workshop, putting together illustrations, building boats and huts while the voiceover continues narrating: “How long did it take them to find the paradise of shared solitude? In a state of hallucinated lucidity, they not only saw the images of their own dreams, but they also saw the images dreamed by the others. It was as if the house had been filled with visitors.”

“When they ask what region that is, we will answer a name that they had never heard, that has no meaning but that, in the dream, has a supernatural resonance: Macondo.” The illustrations are seen stacked at the end of a table where the title of the work is revealed, ending the trailer: One Hundred Years of Solitude.

It is not the first time that the cinema has versioned the stories of the Colombian writer. This is how the Spanish newspaper El Periódico reviews it, recalling the initiative of the Italian Francesco Rosi, who in the 1980s ventured to make some adaptations of Gabo’s work, with the homonymous tape of the work, Chronicle of a death foretold in 1987 .

The Chilean Miguel Littín also opted to bring literary narrative to cinematography with La viuda de Montiel, in 1979, as a co-production of Chile, Cuba and Mexico. Also noteworthy are María de mi corazón, directed by Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, with the plot and script by García Márquez; The year of the plague in 1979, by Felipe Cazals, or The colonel has no one to write to him in 1999, by Arturo Ripstein.

There are no thieves in this town was directed by Alberto Isaac.

Netflix’s proposal

Celebrating the 40th anniversary since the announcement of the Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Gabriel García Márquez, in 1982, Netflix presented the first exclusive preview of the construction process of Macondo for the small screen. It consists of the television version of One Hundred Years of Solitude, the renowned work of the Colombian writer considered one of the emblematic works of magical realism in Latin American literature.

The new project was revealed for the first time in 2019. The adaptation rights of the work were acquired by the company with the aim of being part of its catalog made in Latin America.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the masterpieces of the 20th century and has become an icon of Colombian literature in Latin America and the world. There is no doubt that the culture of Colombia helped establish the narrative of magical realism and, for this reason, we will dedicate all the time and effort necessary to ensure that both characters and locations are a reflection of this sublime work by the Nobel Prize winner. ”, indicated Francisco Ramos, Vice President of Content for Latin America at Netflix.

“We will dedicate all the time and effort necessary to ensure that both characters and locations are a reflection of this sublime work of the Nobel winner”FRANCISCO RAMOS

At the moment it is unknown who will be the actors who will tell this story and how many chapters the television series will have.

Meet the team behind the camera

For now, Netflix has released small details of its new proposal for the Colombian work. Two fundamental characteristics have been revealed: it will be in Spanish, and it will be, for the most part, filmed in Colombia.

In addition, he announced some of the professionals who will be part of the behind-the-scenes team of this ambitious production.

The directors in charge of the first season will be Alex García López (The Witcher, Utopia) and Laura Mora (Killing Jesus, The Kings of the World, Green Frontier, The Robbery of the Century). In the design department will be Eugenio Caballero, who won an Oscar for his work on Pan’s Labyrinth and also participated in Roma and Bardo. Bárbara Enríquez, Caballero’s collaborator in works such as Roma, will also play this role.

One of the challenges facing a large-scale project like this is to be able to bring to light an audiovisual content that does justice to the text written in 1967.

Among the screenwriters who will have this task are José Rivera, who worked on films such as The Motorcycle Diaries and The 33, and Colombians Natalia Santa (Theft of the Century), Camila Brugés (Green Frontier) and Albatros González (Lynch).

The production company that will be part of the project, Dynamo, worked on hits for the streaming platform such as Narcos.

At the end of June, Dynamo had a massive casting call for the One Hundred Years of Solitude series, calling on interested people with or without acting experience to apply. That stage is now complete.

Gabo’s son gives his opinion

When Netflix announced his new project in 2019, the children of the Colombian writer – who according to the platform will be the executive producers of the series – gave their opinions about the challenge of bringing their father’s work to the screen.

“For decades, our father was reluctant to relinquish the film rights to One Hundred Years of Solitude because he believed it was impossible to make under the time constraints of a movie and that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice. But in the current golden age of series – with the level of talented writers and directors, the cinematic quality, and the huge worldwide reception of foreign language content – ​​the time couldn’t be better to bring an adaptation to Netflix’s global audiences. ”, Rodrigo García, one of the sons, said then, according to a company statement.

What does the public say?

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a work with more than 50 years of life. It has been translated into 46 languages ​​and has sold an estimated 50 million copies around the world. It is undoubtedly a highly demanding project and lovers of this story know it.

Since Netflix released its trailer two weeks ago on the YouTube platform, users have shared their opinions about it.

One user commented: “Netflix is ​​warned, they are not going to mess it up with the series. The expectations are very high. Don’t even think about changing anything in the book. That book is the heritage of Latin America and the Colombian people.”

Another user said: “We hope Netflix that you do an excellent job because Gabo was a great and proud Colombian in literature.”

“Hopefully it will be a wonderful project. If they succeed, they even have to recreate other stories that emerge from One Hundred Years of Solitude: Leaf Storm, No One Writes to the Colonel, Big Mom’s Funerals. All in the mythical world of Macondo”, commented another user.

Gabo’s magical realism

Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez was born in Aracataca, Colombia. He was a writer and journalist recognized mainly for his novels and short stories. In addition, he wrote nonfiction, speeches, reports, film reviews, and memoirs. He is considered, along with the Guatemalan Miguel Ángel Asturias, a central figure in the literary genre known as magical realism.

The book is made up of 20 chapters that narrate the history of the Buendía family throughout seven generations in the fictional town of Macondo. As the title predicts, the main themes of this play are time and loneliness experienced by the characters in the play. Other themes such as humor, oral history and popular culture are also present throughout the plot.

Netflix’s new challenge bets on magical realism