The world of Gabriel Garcia Márquez in the photobook of Fausto Giaccone

16 Jun 2014
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Macondo by Fausto Giaccone

Macondo by Fausto Giaccone, 2013

Gabriel Garcia Márquez died on the seventeenth of April 2014, aged 87. The Photocaptionist is extremely sad and would like to remember him in all his literary splendour. We are particularly grateful as he wrote what are probably the best incipit lines ever created for a novel. He opens his One Hundred Years of Solitude with a memorable, and somewhat ominous, sentence that contains at the same time the two antithetical literary devices of the flashback and the flash-forward: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice”. [1]

After many failed attempts to recreate the atmosphere and colours of Garcia Márquez’s ‘profoundly realistic yet famously magical world’ in moving images, Fausto Giaccone’s black-and-white stills in the book Macondo are the praiseworthy ‘visual companion’ of the writer’s universe.

Documenting the Colombian Costa with supreme delicacy and respect, Giaccone is able to visually animate Gabo’s fictional galaxy, offering to the viewer a ‘humanistic and democratic’ crowd of characters that vividly echo the ones who animated the pages of his novels.  The book would not exist without ‘the miraculous effect Gabo’s words have made upon my mind’ writes Giaccone in his acknowledgments. He read One Hundred Years of Solitude while he was doing a ‘very unwarlike military service, moving paperwork from one desk to another in an office in Rome’. And sometimes, his yearning to share his personal photo-literary expedition and revelation becomes so strong that he cannot resist pairing a few images with quotations from Garcia Márquez’s texts. So, for instance, the monument to One Hundred Years of Solitude fictional character Remedios the Beauty, in the small town of Aracataca, where Gabo spent his childhood, is laid out next to the famous moment when she ascends to heaven. [2]

Colombia / Aracataca/ Il monumento a Remedios la Bella, all’ingresso del paese, ricorda uno dei personaggi indimenticabili del romanzo "Cent'anni di Solitudine."

Colombia, Aracataca, The Monument to Remedios la Bella. Courtesy Fausto Giaccone

“Amaranta noticed that Remedios the Beauty was covered all over by an intense paleness.
«Don’t you feel well?» she asked her.
Remedios the Beauty, who was clutching the sheet by the other end, gave a pitying smile.
«Quite the opposite,» she said, «I never felt better.»
She had just finished saying it when Fernanda felt a delicate wind of light pull the sheets out of her hands and open them up wide. Amaranta felt a mysterious trembling in the lace on her petticoats and she tried to grasp the sheet so that she would not fall down at the instant in which Remedios the Beauty began to rise”.

Gabriel García Márquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude

In an interview with Italian journalist Gianni Minà in 1992, Garcia Márquez asks: “Has no one suspected that the most likely source for the Latin American novel’s ‘magical realism’ is [the movie] Miracle in Milan?”. Intriguingly, when Gabo was working as a film critic for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador, in 1954, he reviewed Vittorio De Sica’s 1951 film Miracle in Milan, which is an adaptation of Cesare Zavattini’s 1943 novel Totò il buono; that same Cesare Zavattini Gabo had as lecturer when he was a ‘lazy student’ at the ‘too restrictive’ film school Centro Sperimentale in Rome. And indeed in his review he praises the movie’s ingeniousness, focusing on certain aspects he would bear in mind for his 1967 masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude. He loves that the film ‘humanise[s] fantasy’ by mingling ‘fable’ with ‘crude Italian realism’, without the former loosing its ‘enchantment’ and the latter its ‘highly human temper’. For him the movie ‘combines the real and the fantastic in such a brilliant way that in many cases it is not possible to know where the former ends and the latter starts’. Curiously, Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s analysis of De Sica’s film recalls a review one could write about his own novel. [3]

Macondo by Fausto Giaccone is published by Postcart and you can buy the book here. FC

Colombia, Aracataca,  Stazione della Via Crucis per la processione del Venerdì Santo. Courtesy Fausto Giaccone

Colombia, Aracataca, Stazione della Via Crucis per la processione del Venerdì Santo. Courtesy Fausto Giaccone

[1] Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, translated by Gregory Rabassa, Avon, New York, 1970.
[2] Gerald Martin, ‘Prologue’, in Macondo: The World of Gabriel García Márquez, by Fausto Giaccone, Postcart, Roma, 2013 and Gabriel García Márquez: A Life, Bloomsbury, London, 2008.
[3] Eligio García Márquez, Tras las claves de Melquíades: Historia de Cien años de soledad, Editorial Norma, Bogotá, 2001, p. 432 and Gabriel García Márquez, Milagro en Milan’, in Gabriel García Márquez: Obra periodística, Vol. 2: Entre cachacos, edited by Jacques Gilard, Mondadori, Madrid, 1992, pp. 120-122.