Wednesday, October 01, 2008

‘Love in the Time of Cholera’: Surreal

-By Swetha Amit
Some diseases are a temporary block to ones course of life which act as heavy flakes of snow amidst the mountain passes disrupting an enthusiastic traveler. There are others which shatter ones life killing each living moment reducing them to nothing but ashes and dust eventually. While there are some which propel one to live with it till the end with a veil of remaining unaffected. Yet their ‘soul’ stirring moment occurs only when their purpose is fulfilled ultimately irrespective of the minutes/years that tick away.

Love in the time of cholera which is based on the novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a love triangular story intertwined between three interesting characters. What may seem like just another romance drama depicts several connotations and meanings in depth conveyed in a poignant manner.

The film begins with the accidental death of the aged Doctor Juvenal Urbino (
Benjamin Bratt) whose revelation of true love to his wife Fermina Daza (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) compiled his last breath. No sooner did the funeral end with a rather grieving Fermina, than did an unexpected visitor turned her world topsy turvy. It was the unraveling words uttered by Florentino Ariza (Javier Bardem) that evokes the fury in Fermina and the flashback of events occurred in a span of 50 years.

Dismissing Ariza’s love as amateur Fermina moves on to greener pastures to marry Urbino at 21. The latter is approved by Fermina’s father who couldn’t digest the fact of his daughter’s beauty worthy of just a telegraph boy. However it failed to deter Ariza whose hopes were still set on his only love as he eternally waited for her reciprocal. As years flew by, his pain intensified which diagnosed him as being ‘lovesick’, strangely more dangerous than Cholera which was prevailing in those times. Attempts to nurse this wound led to his encounter with several women and yet his soul remained incomplete.

In parallel to this was Fermina’s marital life that was blessed with a faithful husband with an exception to a promiscuous adultery in the later stages. Yet it lacked the ingredient of love which unseeingly reveals her secret desire for what seemed as puppy love then. He almost seemed an illusion as she mentions while being conversant with her friend over the years. The story continues with elements of joy and sorrow as it gradually halts to the present. Fermina is immersed in deep thoughts as realization dawns upon her and propels her to plunge into the illusionary world as she termed it.

A couple of scenes depict a lot of meaning without being vociferous in their stance. What led to her brewing negativity as Ariza confesses his unadulterated feelings for her? Especially when she too once reciprocated the same only to be met with opposition from her status conscience father.

The probability of reason for her loveless marriage made her realize at a subconscious level that her suppressed feelings were locked inside her. A pertinent question arises in her mind as her husband asks her in one of the scenes whether she would have been happier with Ariza. It was a shield of defense mechanism that didn’t permit her to unveil her true feelings. Partly guilt of just having lost her devoted husband and didn’t want to express elation on seeing Ariza after donkey’s years.

The movie also exhibits aspects to life that actually make one ponder in an intricate manner. The physical flings of Ariza would contradict his virgin love for Fermina. Yet in a surreal manner, his soul remained unaffected with his intimate tryst with the fairer sex. To indulge in intercourse, does one need love? A million dollar question.

The everlasting wait exhibited by Ariza seemed to Fermina as an illusion. Was it his naivety or the delusion that his wait would be fruitful? It seemed that his condition seemed worse than a patient suffering from Cholera yet his undeterred stance made him appear as ‘normal’ as any mortal.

It can be termed as soul stirring, illusive or rhetorical, in terms of its characters, performances especially by the Spanish actor Javier Bardem. Its brilliant direction and cinematography keeps one absorbed till the end. Despite its mixed reviews, Love in the time of Cholera manages to leave an impact nevertheless.

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Blogger Whirlwind said...

Comments on MSN:

KP - Chennai on 10/1/2008 6:41:07 PM
An excellent review bringing vividly the central characters in proper perspective kindling a desire to see the film.The author's English as always is impeccable and lucid.

sk jaiswal - new delhi on 10/1/2008 8:44:30 PM
Love in the time of cholera ? wow, bosss, its an awesome one... cheesrss...skj

9:14 AM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

G.K. - MUMBAI on 10/1/2008 9:57:35 PM

10:01 PM  

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