Tuesday, January 20, 2009

only Cholera, no Love

Think of love as a state of grace not bemuse to anything but the alpha and omega, an end in itself.

How long would you wait for the one you love?
Is a lifetime enough, I guess not.
Love in all its beauty is a little more than attainment and a little less than salvation.
Is it possible to spend all your life under the pretext that you will survive its rigors, turn your back towards death and relive your long cherished dream of being in her arms one day?
Possible seems too trifle of a word and patience its accomplice.
Can you live with the thought that you’ll wait for her all life long knowing that it might take God to give it a second thought about you two?
God will!
Cinema and writing are both forms of art, no doubt. Both ways of expression and I always believed that cinema was a more complete medium than any other. The visual experience combined with all its nuances was a different world altogether.

But then I read Marquez and had doubts about my belief. He was able to weave a phantasmagoric world with the threads of poetry and his characters revealed themselves to me in physical, metaphysical and delusional. With every line I read I was able to understand myself better with the characters, so it was more than just a treat for my five senses but also the supreme one, that of feeling.
When I came to know that one his books, and the most enchanting one, has been made into a movie which was available at the mere click of a button, I couldn’t resist the temptation of watching those characters come to life on screen with all their eccentricities and earthy touches. The lifetaking Caribbean landscape which I have only imagined as Marquez has made me, with the boleros and accordion sounds humming in my ears.

The manifestation of a novel so vast in its canvas, appeal and thought is a daunting task in itself, and an impossible one. It was a let down in all its meanings. The movie tries to capture too much, the whole spectrum of the novel in a mere time span of two hours where every page in the book is so exquisite that it might take the length of an entire film. It tries to say too much and ends being nothing but a stepchild of a proud parent. When one reads a book he creates a world of his own which twists so much, especially in Marquez’s case, that he is left with an avalanche of a thousand images where no world seems perfect. A film, based on such a book, needs to say at least a hundred different things in one shot. Now that’s quite a task. Every character in the attempt of giving justice has been shrunken to such an extent that they seem like dirty water squeezed out of a sponge. There are so many questions left unanswered, especially about the dilemma of Fermina that the character seems farce. Dr. Juvenal Urbino has been thrown in the inferno and Femina stays in purgatory as far as the integrity of their characters is concerned. Only that of Florentino comes close to the doors of heaven, not enters it though. The movie tries to look at three viewpoints as the book but ends up explaining none, to some extent that of Florentino’s.

The most powerful moments in the movie are its last 30 minutes where the book and movie becomes one. The dilemma of Fermina and the resolve of Florentino are shown just as they are in the book and that’s the period in which you weep and rejoice for both of them at the same time. I’ve never seen a movie with such a lousy opening and such a powerful end. It’s more of a writer’s flaw in Ronald Harwood, who has written a powerhouse in Pianist, than in Mike Newell, the director. Ronald didn’t give Mike enough to direct.

If you try to see the movie as an orphan then your confusion would expand exponentially, so a reference to the book is inevitable here.
I had pre-decided that it would be a disappointment as no mortal soul can bring Marquez alive on screen, and I have been delivered with just that and in the exact amount.

Originally published on PassionForCinema.com at http://passionforcinema.com/love-in-the-time-of-cholera-review/

No comments: