Il Postino

When this film begins we are looking into the home of Mario Troisi on a little island in Italy. This island just so happens to be the very one that famous poet Pablo Neruda has been forced to live on in exile. This small Italian island forms a gap between the society outside and around, much like the town of Macondo from 100 Years of Solitude.  Upon first seeing Mario it is not hard to pick out some possible evidence of a social issue, which we later confirm he does not have. He is shown having a meal with his father in their small shanty as the two discuss Mario’s ability to remain unemployed. The scene is meant to illustrate the type of life Mario and his father live, and shed light on their relationship. Their home is the home of a fisherman. Mario’s father works on the boats each morning and he is obviously frustrated with his son not having work. Mario is a hopeful young man. His brothers shipped off to America and his envy is clearly shown when he speaks of them. As he reads mail from them he becomes giddy as a school boy with thoughts of living in America. This scene is included to be sure that Mario’s longing to be somewhere else and experience new things is realized by viewers. Also showing that Mario’s father is quite the opposite.

This film’s opening scene provides a pathway for comparison to Garcia Marquez’s novel 100 Years Of Solitude. Like the island Macondo is far off from the ,”mainland” so to speak. When you a young man with as much longing for adventure as Mario this can prove to be an issue. While some may disagree with my point this Mario reminds me in some aspects of Jose Arcadio. I see Jose and Mario walking in the same shoes at the time before Jose left for the circus. For me, I imagine the two were in similar situations. Stuck in a place, longing to be in another. Differing viewpoints with their father’s only further reinforcing their desire to be elsewhere. I will admit, Jose Arcadio could do with more of the mild temperament that Mario has but that’s besides the point.

Mario is eventually pushed hard enough by his father that he caves and gets a job. As he is riding his bicycle through town he notices an ad on the window of a post office for a delivery man. He returns to his father with news of his job and the hat to his new uniform. In the scene where Mario first returns home his excitement is illustrated through his interactions with the hat. Mario wears it to the dinner table, and when his father inquires about it Mario, less than slyly, makes up an excuse to continue wearing it. The next day Mario begins his work, which is where Pablo Neruda comes into the story.

Mario is tasked with bringing Pablo Neruda, famous poet of the people, his fan mail and packages each day. At this time Neruda has been exiled from his home in Chile due to his political stance, so the mail comes in bunches. Mario has heard of this man, but because hes lived on this island of fishermen his whole life he hasn’t the faintest idea of what a poet will be like. Until he meets Pablo. Pablo eventually introduces Mario to poetry, which made me think of Melquiades from the Novel. Melquiades is part of a group of gypsy’s which clearly means he has a different way of thinking. Neruda was exiled for communist beliefs. Melquiades introduces Jose Arcadio Buendia to tools of the outside world. Much like Pablo shows Mario poetry. Pablo Neruda is a famous poet. He uses metaphors and similes to include an almost coded message as to what his piece is about. Melquiades writes multilayered codes in Sanskrit that prophecies Macondo’s future. There clearly both skilled writers who had a similar impact on the people they were involved with.

As the story continues on Pablo and Mario become friends. Pablo continues to teach him of the wonderful world of rhetoric. They bond at first of one of Neruda’s specific poems, Walking Around. This poem starts off with the line, “I am tired of being a man.” Mario tells Pablo that he too knows that feeling. It really is a genius way of character development. The film uses a book of metaphors as a metaphor to further develop what the viewers know of Mario. The scene where they sit out front of Neruda’s home could be described in words and considered a poem itself. This film uses metaphors wonderfully to develop it’s few characters early on into the novel. And from their we just watch as the characters we became attached too early on carry on their lives to their prophetic end.

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Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

The level of contrast between Isabel Allende’s ,”house of the spirits,” and Women On the Verge of A Nervous Breakdown,” is so obvious it is almost not worth mentioning. Almodóvar’s film is another example of a piece with emphasis on it’s strong female characters, though it sheds it in an entirely different way. Pepa, though some may disagree, is portrayed as a incredibly strong willed woman. She is determined to get what she wants by any means necessary. She would even go as far as to kill if that’s what it would took. And the capacity for a person to kill is brave in a way. (No I’m not glorifying murder) Clara on the other hand, is shown differently, though still protrayed as strong.first off and most obviously is her mental powers. Defenitley a strength.  But she is also a wise woman who knows how to get what she wants as well, though she uses an entirely different set of means. I imagined going into the film that these woman would be portrayed in a very stereotypical and clichè manner. Woman loses lover, goes crazy begging for lover back. Though getting him back was the goal, the way in which Pepa dos this were far from the norm. She took on the full frontal assault instead of pleading on her knees. 

The House to Volver

The intitial and most obvious similarities between the Allendes’, House Of the Spirits, and Almodóvar’s, Volver, would be there ties to magical realism. In Allendes novel Clara and here children provide the magic into the novel with their supernatural telekinetic powers. As for Almodóvar’s film it is the ghost of Irene, a deceased matriarch, who brings about a spiritual aspect into the film. 

      Another similarities that these two authors share in their works are their building of female characters. Roger Ebert states that Almódovar’s film is, “paying tribute to the women who raised them (the characters).” His scholarly review only provides further evidence to the authors similar use of strong female characters. 

     One instance of this comes with the character, Raimnuda, Paula’s daughter. A.O. Scott describes Raimunda as, “a hardworking woman pulled in every direction by the needs of the women around her.” Upon reading this I can’t help but think of two characters from Allende’s novel; Nivea and Ferula. 

     Nivea is constantly sacrificing her time for the needs of her daughters, and even her husbands and his far out political ambitions. She caters to the needs of her daughters selflessly in order to steer Clara in the right direction. 

    Though the plot of these stories differs greatly, through the authors’ character development and inclusion of magical realism readers can find many similarities. 
Ebert, Roger. Volver (film review) , http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/volver-2006, Internet article. Nov. 21, 2006. RobertEbert.com

Scott, A.O. The darkest troubles in the brightest of colors, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/03/movies/03volv.html?_r=0, Nov. 3, 2006. The New York Times, Internet article

Esteban Trueba

 Esteban Trueba is first introduced in the novel as a man to be admired. He drops everything in his life for the woman he has fallen head over heels in love with, Rosa de Valle, and begins to dig for his fortune in a gold mine. He seeks this fortune all in an effort to obtain sufficient funding to go back home and marry Rosa properly. This is the Esteban that readers would identify as a caring man; willing to sacrifice his own well being for another. But a tragic turn of events causes Esteban to begin a metamorphosis into a, for lack of better phrasing, less than admirable character. 

When Rosa’s life is mistakenly taken in the place of her fathers it is as if any reason Esteban had to live died along with her. Upon receiving news of this Esteban is thrown into a fit of range; something he was prone to as a child. He leaves the desert mine and makes his way home to his Mother and Sister. The readers are given some insight into the background of Esteban, which provides the story of how Esteban first became entranced by Rosa. The author likely includes this story to draw emotion from readers so they can better sympathize with Esteban’s loss.

Esteban informs his sister, whom with he is less than friendly, that he will be setting out to some land they own in an effort to make something of his now seemingly meaningless life. Simply from the context of the conversation between these characters can readers infer that Esteban is a changed man. Upon arriving on his land, he meets the many peasants living there. Thus begins the tyrannical rule of Esteban Trueba. He begins to search for meaning by means of wealth and women. He exploits the residents of his land, and in many occasions, he even rapes the woman.

The loss of a woman he loved turned Esteban into a cold heartless man. But his loss is no excuse for his actions. Esteban is a rarity throughout the novel. He comes into the Novel as a man whose only goal in life is to please a woman. (Rosa) One of the only men who does not hold a position of power over women; like Father Restrepo and Severo De Valle. The loss of this token male character seems to mark a twist in the tale for not only Esteban’s life, but the lives of the de Valle family as well. 

 I have included a before and after photo deploring Esteban’s moods while Rosa is alive, and after she is passed.