Review: ‘Del Amor Y Otros Demonios’
Luminous Adaptation of Garcia Marquez Novel
Friday, October 7, 2011
The Cinema en tu Idioma monthly film series continues with "Del Amor Y Otros Demonios/Of Love and Other Demons" (opening October 7 at the UltraStar Mission Valley Theaters at Hazard Center), a luminous adaptation of Gabriel García Márquez' novel.
Cinema en tu Idioma is a program designed to provide mini-distribution for films that did well at the San Diego Latino Film Festival or that the SDLFF wanted to show but couldn't. Frequently these are crowd pleasers like romantic comedy hits from Mexico. "Del Amor Y Otros Demonios" offers a nice change of pace, a sumptuously shot, languidly paced adaptation of a Gabriel García Márquez' novel. It is also one of the best films I have seen highlighted in this ongoing series.
The film marks the feature directing debut of Hilda Hidalgo and it's a highly promising one. Perhaps because this is her first feature, she doesn't bring with her any baggage about how novels should be adapted to the screen, and perhaps that has freed her to create one of the best screen adaptations of a García Márquez novel. Too often his books have been poorly translated to film because filmmakers are too literal or overly concerned with the plot of his books. Hidalgo, on the other hand, puts the plot in the back seat and instead focuses on his glorious imagery and on telling his story the way film works best -- through visuals.
Set in 17th century Columbia, the story involves a young girl of nobility, Sierva Maria (the mesmerizing Eliza Triana) who gets bit by a rabid dog and then is thought to be possessed by a demon. Her "punishment" is to be locked in the basement of a convent. Soon she forms a relationship with a young priest (Pablo Derqui) assigned to her case. He must determine if she is possessed and in need of an exorcism. The film never clearly defines if she has rabies or if perhaps she has something more dangerous in a society with strict rules and morality.
Hidalgo weaves this tale with confidence, providing us with stunning images that linger much longer than any specifics of the plot. We remember the copper color of Sierva's hair, the quality of the light, the texture of the dark walls of her cell, and the seductive greens and blues of nature. The emotional qualities of these images tells the story. So the Church, with his rigid rules and harsh punishments, is associated with dull colors and rough textures, while Sierva and her African nanny are bathed in warm sunlight as they represent something freer and more natural.
" Del Amor Y Otros Demonios" (in Spanish with English subtitles and for mature audiences) is a hypnotic film that displays beauty even though it deals with a harsh world.
As part of Cinema en tu Idioma there will be opening weekend festivities that include a Latin American Literature Book Exchange on Saturday, October 8 from 6:30pm - 8:30pm at the Ultrastar Mission Valley Cinemas! Plus Professor Bill Nericcio will give a special presentation on Saturday, October 8 before the film screening. So enjoy some live bonus features.
Companion viewing: "The Devils," "Goya's Ghosts," "Bad Education"