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Films with Magical Realism and Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Source: Proexport Colombia
On April 17th of 2014 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the great Nobel Prize winning writer passed away. 

In the internet you could fiund numerous coverage of what was his influence in literature, catchphrases, etc.

The following two articles about his influence in film and the concept most associated with his novels, magical realism. Something that should be analyzed and I will also talk about it in this article.

Here are the links to the articles in indiewire and Library Journal.



Magical realism, as Stephanie Klose mentions in the Library Journal article is when “minor magical or fantastical elements exist without explanation in an otherwise normal world”. This magical realism is deeply associated with the works of Garcia-Marquez. His works was a fresh breath of creativity in Latin American literature, where Costumbrismo was and still is the predominant artistic force.




Costumbrismo with its deep roots in the Hispanic heritage of presenting life as close as possible in art and literature. This was a difficult artistic a force to break out off. Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Isabel Allende, Ernesto Sabato among others had broken of this movement and found in magical realism a way to keep their works rooted in their respective cultures while still reaching to fantasy and magical elements.

The work of modern writers and filmmakers in the region is still rooted in Costumbrismo, although evolved to darker themes.




What fascinates me and everyone should see is the works of filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro(Pan’s labyrinth), Jean-Pierre Jeunet(Amelie), Tim Burton(Edwards Scissorhands, Big Fish), Bryan Fuller(Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal), David Lynch(Twin Peaks, Mulhollan Drive), David Fincher(The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Hayao Miyasaki(My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and all the rest) , and recent works of Woody Allen(Midnight in Paris, From Rome with Love) that include heavy elements of magical realism.
The medium of film translates great to offer the deconstruction of reality and include fantasy and, magic without explanation. These film makers like to take ordinary people and confront them to extraordinary circumstances, no explanation needed just acceptance of reality as it is.





When critics deconstruct these movies the magical illusion is lost. But the real wonder of magical realism is precisely that if the protagonist doesn't care, we shouldn't care. Disbelieving is losing the magic. 




It is sad that the film adaptations of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or other Latin American authors of the movement. Have not seen a worthy adaptation on TV or film. There is certainly talent that can express what magical realism is, but they do need to believe in it.

At the end of film Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee and written by David Magee, the narrator, Pi, says: “I've told you two stories about what happened out on the ocean. Neither explains what caused the sinking of the ship, and no one can prove which story is true and which is not. In both stories, the ship sinks, my family dies, and I suffer.”… So which story do you prefer?

I say, I want to believe in magic.




I hope you enjoy this movies and remember that magic is in the air.


PS: I’m still thinking if Wes Anderson films are magical realism, I would love to hear about everyone's opinions. His films feel magical realism, but is it really a world were magic is real?




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