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Chronicle of a Death Foretold (film)
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Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a drama film directed by Francesco Rosi adapted by Tonino Guerra from the eponymous novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez . It stars Rupert Everett, Ornella Muti, Anthony Delon and Gian Maria Volonte. The film premiered at Cannes film festival in May 1987.
After 27 years of absence, Cristobal Bedoya, " Cristo", a medical doctor, returns to his hometown, a small Colombian city in the banks of the Magdalena River. Still haunted by the murder of his best friend, Santiago Nasar, which occurred almost three decades ago, Cristobal attempts to recreate what happened on that fateful day talking with those close to Santiago and his case. Their memories take them to the time of the crime.
On the day he was eventually killed, Santiago Nasar had a dream about birds that his mother mistakenly took as good omen of good health. Six months before, a handsome, young foreigner arrives to the town. His name is Bayardo San Roman. Little is known about him except that he is very rich and in want of a wife. Bayardo is soon smitten but the extraordinary beauty of a local girl, Angela Vicario. She is uninterested in his advances, but Bayardo does whatever it takes to win her approval by showering her with gifts. The next time Bayardo sees her, she is selling tickets of a lottery at a town event. He buys all of the raffle tickets and wins a music box, which he then has delivered to her house as a gift. Bayardo asks Angela what house she likes best, and she replies that she likes the one that belongs to the widower Xius. The widower insists that the house is not for sale, but Bayardo keeps offering more and more money until Xius gives in.
When Angela protests to her parents that she does not love Bayardo, her mother dismissed that idea, telling her that love could be learned. Pressure by her family she yields and the couple get married with a lavish party. On the wedding night, Bayardo discovers that Angela is not virgin and returns her to her bewildered family. Angela is beaten by her mother until she is forced to confess who was the man who took her virginity. She says that it was Santiago Nasar. Angelas twin brothers are forced by local custom to avenge the honor of the family, taking Santiagos life.
The murder takes place the day after the wedding, when the town is in turmoil waiting for the visit of the bishop who is crossing the city by the river. The twin brothers Pablo and Pedro Vicario are reluctant to commit the crime, but they have no other choice, they must kill the man who took her sisters honor. They are quite open about their intentions and the rumor about what is about to occur spreads to the town. The twins, with knives wrapped in newspaper, wait for Santiago to appear in the store of Clotilde Armenta who gives them rum, hoping to make them so drunk they cannot do anything. Eventually, many people learn of the murder plan, but nobody does anything to stop the brothers, or warn Santiago. The town is divided into those who know what is going to occur and feel that the event should be stopped, people who think that the brothers are joking, and authority figures that are lax in their duties and allow the murder to occur. Everybody seem to have their own reasons for not telling Santiago or actually preventing the crime.
Flora, Santiagos girlfriend, is upset and humiliated when she learns the accusation and about the death threats. When Santiago comes to see her, she is furious. She tells him that she hopes they kill him, and she goes into her room and locks the door. Floras father tells him that the Vicarios want to kill him. Santiago leaves the house, and starts to head home. When Santiago appears by the plaza, he is prevented by Clotilde who yells at him to run for his life. Santiago, who is unarmed, tries to find refuge in his house, but his own mother, thinking that he was inside, locks the door. The Vicario twins stabs him and he falls death in the town main square.
Santiago might have been innocent of taking Angelas virginity. They were never seen together. Angela was widely believed in town to be protecting the real culprit. However, in the criminal; summary after the murder and question again 27 years later by Cristobal, she never changed her story: Santiago Nasar was her "author".
Angela, who up until her marriage was not in love with Bayardo, falls hopelessly in love with him after the tragic wedding night. From then on and for many years, she writes love letters to him weekly, but she never hears from him. Then, halfway through a day, Bayardo comes back into her unexpectedly. He leaves a trace with the unopened letters she has sent him, Angela follows them and they are reunited.
While many of the actors are unknown to American audiences, Chronicle of a Death Foretold has a stellar cast of international European stars. The film displays the talent of the veterans Irene Papas and Gian Maria Volonte. However, the casting was notable for its use of upcoming young European actors: Ornella Muti, as the beautiful and mysterious Angela Vicario who motivates the drama, Anthony Delon (son of Alain Delon) as the man she falls for and the then unknown Rupert Everett.
Ornella Muti- Angela Vicario
Rupert Everett - Bayardo San Roman
Gian Maria Volonte - Cristobal Bedoya
Anthony Delon - Santiago Nasar
Lucia Bose - Placida Linero
Irene Papas- Angelas mother
Sergi Mateu - young Cristobal
Vicky Hernandez - Clotilde Armaneta
Alain Cuny - widower Xius
Carolina Rosi - Flora Miguel
The film was released as the opening film at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival which Anthony Delon attended with co-stars Rupert Everett and Ornella Muti. The film was a critical success in Latin America and Europe but was snubbed by critics in France.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold is available in Region 4 DVD, it can also play in region 1. Audio in Spanish, but no English subtitles.
Caparros Lera, Jose Maria: El Cine de Nuestros dias 1994-1998, Ediciones Rialp, 1999. ISBN 8432132330
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