It was one of my good friends that advised me to watch this movie “Love in the Time of Cholera”, when I was speaking to him about the girl that I loved the most in my life, which did not have a happy ending. In fact this film is a treat to watch, if you take the movie in that respect, the love lost. If not for Florentino Ariza, who else will wait for 51 years, 9 months and 4 days – well, while having dalliances with over 600 women in between – to meet the one he loved most as a teenager? Florentino Ariza does and wins the coveted prize, his dream girl, now a 70-year-old widow with few kids.
You won’t understand these sentiments, unless you read the novel of the same name by the late Gabriel García Márquez (which the movie was based on) or at least watch the movie. I am yet to read the book, but since I watched the movie first, I would write about it here first.
The movie was directed by Mike Newell and produced by Scott Steindorff. The three main characters in the movie are Fermina Daza (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and her two suitors, Florentino Ariza (Javier Bardem) and Doctor Juvenal Urbino (Benjamin Bratt.) It is said that the producer spent over three years wooing Gabriel García Márquez for the rights to the book telling him that he was Florentino and would not give up until he got the rights. (Well, I would have done the same or more, if I were the producers as the story is that important & relative to me.)
The love triangle between the trio spans for 50 years. Florentino misses his sweetheart but is determined to make amends by making himself a rich and popular poet (who also writes love letters for other lovers who cannot write or are not articulate enough to impress their partners.) Wealth and fame bring him more female admirers than a rock star of today. And, to evade the pain of the love lost – I do not know this was the right reason – he keeps having affairs with all the attractive women who come his way. (Well, it is said that Shah Jahan, the emperor who built the Taj Mahal as a ‘monument for love’ for his beloved deceased wife Mumtaz Mahal, is supposed to have done heinous acts before and after the death of her?)
I do not waste time on the plot as Wikipedia has a better version of it and one could simply go through this. [But I suggest that you wait to read the last paragraph after the plot.]
“In late 19th century Cartagena, a river port in Colombia, Florentino Ariza falls in love at first sight with Fermina Daza. They secretly correspond, and she eventually agrees to marry him, but her father discovers their relationship and sends her to stay with distant relatives (mainly her grandmother and niece). When she returns some years later, Fermina agrees to marry Dr. Juvenal Urbino, her father’s choice. Their 50-year marriage is outwardly loving but inwardly marred by darker emotions. Fermina’s marriage devastates Florentino, who vows to remain a virgin, but his self-denial is thwarted by a tryst.
To help him get over Fermina, his mother introduces a willing widow to him, he discovers that sex is a very good pain reliever, one he uses to replace the opium that he had habitually smoked. He begins to record and describe each of his sexual encounters, beginning with the widow, and eventually compiles over 600 entries.
A lowly clerk, he plods resolutely over many years to approach the wealth and social standing of Dr. Urbino. When the now-elderly doctor dies suddenly, Florentino immediately and impertinently resumes courting Fermina.” – Wikipedia
I am not ashamed of saying this. But I too will wait the next 50 years or more, to meet my love again should she come back to me at any time in the future, even with 10 children. (But in the meantime, I am not indulging in any carnal exploits). Love is such a strong sentiment that one can sacrifice anything, unfortunately, when it matters most, you do not know “how to sell a contradiction” as Culture Club sings in “Karma Chameleon” with your ego and what not? When you realize what you lose, it is already too late. But for me, being in love with her again is never too late.