ALL ABOUT LOCATION
Colin Barraclough reveals some of the real settings used in Love in the Time of Cholera
HOLLYWOOD’S take on Love in the Time of Cholera may anger literary purists. ‘‘ We’ll certainly take some black eyes, partly for doing it in English but mostly for having tried in the first place,’’ admits British director Mike Newell (of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame).
‘‘ A lot of people believe shouldn’t touch holy work.’’
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is near deified by admirers of South American literature, has long resisted turning his novels into cinema.
It took three years of wooing before Stone Village Pictures’ producer Scott Steindorff, an American who made his money as a property developer in Las Vegas, finally wrested a deal from Marquez for the film rights to his 1985 novel.
Initially planning to shoot the movie in Brazil, Steindorff says he’s grateful Colombian authorities persuaded him to switch to Cartagena, which he describes as ‘‘ one of the most romantic cities in the world’’.
The plot, loosely based on the story of Marquez’s parents, follows an incurable romantic, Florentino Ariza (played by Spain’s Javier Bardem), who loses the love of his life, Fermina Daza, (played by Italy’s Giovanna Mezzogiorno), but devotes the following half-
you century preparing for the day he might once again have her.
Cartagena has hosted film shoots in the past, including the 1968 thriller Burn , starring Marlon Brando, and the Academy Award-winning The Mission (1986). Grace Kelly even filmed Green Fire here in the 1950s.
As the first mainstream film shot in the city since the ’ 80s, however, Lovein the Time of Cholera has generated a significant buzz.
Teatro Heredia: With its ornate gold-leaf interior and excellent acoustics, this stunning theatre provided Newell with a location for a poetry competition in Love in the Time of Cholera . Now the home of Cartagena’s ballet company, it hosted the Miss Colombia pageant and Marquez’s 80th birthday party.
Convento de San Pedro Claver: Also a museum, this monastery provided Newell with a key location. Fermina Daza, the story’s leading lady, elects to be married here to punctilious doctor Juvenal Urbino.
Casa del Marques de Valdehoyos: Built as the city’s largest private residence by the slave-trading Marquis of Valdehoyos, this house provided brief sanctuary to independence hero Simon Bolivar shortly before his death in 1830. Now a government-owned centre for cultural events, the building features in the film as the home of Lorenzo Daza, Fermina’s father.
Escuela de Bellas Artes: Cartagena’s colonial-era Fine Arts School building provided two locations. Its exterior served as the college where Florentino picks up America Vicuna, while scenes from Fermina’s school were filmed in the interior.
Music students at the school form the choir that sings in the funeral and Christmas Eve mass scenes.
Fuerte de la Tenaza: Forming part of the Old City walls, this fort provided the location for the boat dock where Fermina and Florentino depart on their honeymoon cruise. It is located directly above Las Bovedas, a former munitions dump that houses souvenir shops. LoveintheTimeofCholera opened across Australia on Thursday.
While not specifying Cartagena, the Australian Government advises travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Colombia because of the high threat of terrorism and criminal activity. More: www.smartraveller.gov.au.
New romantics: A scene from Love in the Time of Cholera, filmed in Cartagena