After buying a well known studio in Hollywood, I am planning to develop a feature length film from the famous short story of Gabriel Garcia Marquez ‘A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings’ (originally written in Spanish ‘Un Seňor Muy Viejo Con Unas Alas Enormes’). …
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The text has an exquisite presentation of fiction and magic realism. This paper is aimed to review the short story, discuss its feasibility as a film, and explain the potential target audience. I feel that both the text and its cinematic adoption will have similar target audience.
The text ‘A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings’ can be primarily classified under the category of magic realism. It is one of Marquez’s famous short stories written in 1955 that we find in the book Leaf Storm.
The backdrop of the plot is set in a rural area. Pelayo and Elisenda is an impoverished couple who lived in a sorrowful state of extreme poverty. Their little son is badly sick. On a stormy afternoon one day, the couple finds a very old man who has huge wings attached to his body in their courtyard. When the couple tries to communicate with him, they find his language they do not understand. Pelayo locks the man in his chicken coop.
From this point, the game of magic and reality begins. Magic being the arrival of the old man with wings, the reality is the manifestation of curiosity entrenched human minds. Hundreds of villagers now begin to visit the couple’s house to see the strange old man. Pelayo and Elisenda inform Father Gonzega about the man. Father Gonzega arrives and tries to communicate with the old man but fails. Marquez brings marvelous satire at this stage. Father Gonzega informs the Vatican about the old man, who in turn asks the priest to examine that whether the old man could be an angel or not. Father Gonzega acts accordingly and examines him. He finds that the old man does not know Latin, or Aramaic, is very frail, and has too many mortal features to be an angel. Father’s feedback to the Vatican leaves the Catholic Church a strange conclusion … The old man is a Norwegian sailor! This satire shows that how unquestionable faith may create so much confusion that not even the basic elements of anomaly or wonder are distinguished. The intellectual content of the story increases along with its innovative unusualness when a young woman with human head and a body of a spider is introduced in the village. She says she had disobeyed her parents and hence she was punished by the means of such a strange transformation. In the meanwhile, Pelayo and Elisenda have become rich as they have been charging a fee from the visitors who come to see the old man in large numbers. However, with the appearance of the strange woman, visitors shift their attention to her. This is how the short lived excitement and inconsistency of human askance from one topic to another is exhibited. At the end of the story, the old man simply flies away. He had brought much fortune to the impoverished couple, but he faced unnecessary cruelty, and ultimately, negligence. Interpretation The overall message is mixed. There is religious satire that involves the Catholic Church and the power mechanisms of this institution. There are the inconsistencies of human mind and perceptions. There is a subplot of an interesting woman, who has the body of a spider. There is emotional tug of war at the end. So, the story has lots of intellectual substance. The tone is fluctuating from humor to fiction and satire to emotion. Marquez has not given any clear indication that for whom has he written this story. However, it appears to be appealing to a varied spectrum of audience. The characteristics of the story suggest that it is thought provoking, exciting, and sometimes, rather comic. Despite these qualities, it seems that too many ideas sometimes infest the plot and the developments in the text with absurdity. It is not good to
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