It is a haunting chronicle of a death foretold, of how a state prepares for the taking of a life: The warden gives precise instructions and admonitions to his staff, the guards wrestle with their personal feelings for the inmate, the chaplain tries to provide solace. Except for the actual execution in the gas chamber's straight-backed perforated-metal chair, little is left out. Witness the closing scene in Johnson's ''waiting cell'' just 20 minutes before he is to die.
In "Chronicle of a Death Foretold," the bride-to-be, Angela Vicaro, was returned to her family when her future husband found out that she was not a virgin. The fact that she was not a virgin was enough to prevent a marriage from occurring, bring disgrace to the family, and cause a murder. Obviously, this was extremely important in the novel, and it is of some importance in society today.
|Chronicle of a Death Foretold|
Italian theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Francesco Rosi|
|Produced by||Yves Gasser|
|Written by||Tonino Guerra|
Gian Maria Volontè
|Music by||Piero Piccioni|
|Cinematography||Pasqualino De Santis|
|Edited by||Ruggero Mastroianni|
|8 May 1987 (France)|
The manner in which this story is revealed is something new for Garcia Marquez. He uses the device of an unnamed, shadowy narrator visiting the scene of the killing many years later, and beginning an investigation into the past. This narrator, the text hints, is Garcia Marquez himself – at least, he has an aunt with that surname. And the town has many echoes of Macondo: Gerineldo Marquez makes a guest appearance, and one of the characters has the evocative name, for fans of the earlier book, of Cotes. But whether it be Macondo or no, Marquez is writing, in these pages, at a greater distance from his material than ever before. The book and its narrator probe slowly, painfully, through the mists of half-accurate memories, equivocations, contradictory versions, trying to establish what happened and why; and achieve only provisional answers. The effect of this retrospective method is to make the Chronicle strangely elegiac in tone, as if Garcia Marquez feels that he has drifted away from his roots, and can only write about them now through veils of formal difficulty. Where all his previous books exude an air of absolute authority over the material, this one reeks of doubt. And the triumph of the book is that this new hesitancy, this abdication of Olympus, is turned to such excellent account, and becomes a source of strength: Chronicle of a Death Foretold, with its uncertainties, with its case-history format, is as haunting, as lovely and as true as anything Garcia Marquez has written before.
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