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.