ltalian director Francesco Rosi has an international reputation based squarely on a series of incisive political thrillers that include Salvatore (iailiano. 'l'lze .llallei xii/air. Lucky Lur‘lam) and Illustrious ( ‘(Irpyev . His lengthy career has also brought forth the magical fairytale ()nce l 'pon .‘l Time. the exuberant full-blooded ('amien with .lulia Migenes‘ Johnson and now a rich and expansive adaptation of ( iabriel (iarcia Marque/s short novel (‘lirmticle ofa Deal/I l‘i()l'('l()l(l.
Set in (Tarthagena. (‘olombia and recounted in langorous ﬂashback. the film tells of a romance between local girl Angela and an enigmatic stranger. oftheir marriage. his subsequent disgust at the discovery she is not a virgin. the need for her brothers to avenge the besrnirchment of their family honour and the murder of Santiago Nasar. the man she had named as her lover. It is the material of pure melodrama but in Rosi's hands it becomes a soap-opera with substance — a grave. sensual pondering on the nature of
CHRONICLE OF A DEATH FORETOLD
CRIME BY PUNISHMENT
In Gabriel Garcia Marquez 's brilliantslzort novel Chronicle ofa Death Foretold a village eonspires by silence allowing murder to be committed as a ‘matter of honour‘. Allan Hunter met the cast of Francesco R0551’s film versron.
collective guilt for individual acts. immutable codesof antiquated morality and the unquenchable flame ofpure love.
Whether the more intimate personal dramas of ('Iirrmicle Ufa Deal/1 Foreialrl mark a continuation or a departure from Rosi's previous work was a subject that greatly engaged the assembled throngs at this year‘s (‘annes Film Festival where Rosi was at pains to explain his attraction to the project. ‘With any engagement in art it is not always necessary to be political. I try to
communicate to audiences what I feel about the world that surrounds me and it's not only a political outlook. ()ne can't always make films that denounce. I‘ve already said all I have to say about the Mafia and the connivance between the authorities: I can't keep making the same film. I found in Marquez‘s novel something I could use. When one chooses to talk about death. love. life and a sentiment like friendship one can't only be hard. sometimes you must be lyrical as well.’
Rosi‘s film may move with the stately demeanour of an ocean-going liner but he has achieved the perfect pace to capture the rythmn of life in sun-soaked. srnalltown South America. The local colour. the
‘One can‘t always denounce.‘
human detail and the commendable performances all create an ambience in which the central murder assumes a horrifying significance. [Everyone in (‘arthagena appreciates that Angela‘s disgrace could not have gone unpunished. everyone knew that Santiago's life was the price of satisfaction yet no-one intervened to prevent a tragedy that was avoidable. The whole community bears the responsibility for the blood on the murderers‘ hands. "l‘he events in the film. the crime itselfis
6 ’l‘he List 24 .luly — (i August