Tensions High in Colombia Over New Film

Netflix plans on adapting the Colombian novel One Hundred Years of Solitude into an original series. (Flickr)

Netflix plans on adapting the Colombian novel One Hundred Years of Solitude into an original series. (Flickr)

Gabriel García Márquez’s masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude is set to become a Netflix original series in the near future, according to the Guardian. It will be the first screen adaptation of the novel, known as a landmark of Colombian culture.

Credited as the pioneering work in magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude follows a vast cast of characters living in a small Colombian town, most notably the Buendía dynasty, founders of the rural and isolated town of Macondo.

Critics praised the book for its multidimensional portrayal of Colombians. Juan Manuel Santos, former president of Colombia and recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, lauded Marquez as “the greatest Colombian that ever lived.”

García’s sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo García, who will executive produce the project, explained why the author hesitated to sell the rights to a movie production company: “He believed that it could not be made under the time constraints of a feature film, or that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice.” However, under the premise of a series, they have allowed production to go forward, according to the Guardian.

The adaptation of such an influential novel, making García’s work more accessible to the international community, would seem to merit excitement. Many Colombians, however, met the news with a curious amount of trepidation and anxiety.

The main problem, says bookstore owner Andrés Camilo Ramírez, is the fact that most media either from or set in Colombia focuses on the country’s troubled past concerning drug trafficking and terrorism.

Recent examples of this include recent Netflix series Narcos, which was accused of glamorizing Pablo Escobar’s life and personality. Narcos was also criticized for not hiring Colombian actors.

However, Colombia is eager to show the world new facets of its society following the historic 2016 peace treaty between FARC and the government, which led to 7,000 rebels laying down their weapons after the signing. The accord was described as “the start of the construction of peace,” according to the Guardian.

This hopeful new image is what makes the adaptation of One Hundred Years of Solitude a tentative step in the right direction for Colombia, and many await the screen version of the fictional town of Macondo with bated breath.

“Macondo is much more real than many real life towns, and Colonel Aureliano Buendía – who never existed – is more real than almost all colonels,” Colombian author Héctor Abad told the Guardian.

While Colombians may still worry that a large, foreign company like Netflix will not do the novel justice, the fact that García’s sons will have some control over the finished product may help ensure that their father’s memory is honored.