As I was clicking my way through imdb.com’s huge movie database one day, I found myself haphazardly clicking on Gael García Bernal’s name. To my pleasant surprise, I found out that he is set to star in an adaptation of classic Mexican novel Pedro Páramo. This was quite the coincidence since I had just finished reading this seminal novel by Juan Rulfo and very much enjoyed it.
Written in 1955, Pedro Páramo is about a man looking for his father in the small town of Comala to fufill his mother’s last dying wish. The town, however, has become a desolate purgatory for those souls that once lived there and could not enter heaven or hell.
A ghost town in the middle of Mexico, what could be better than that? The novel deals in heavy doses of the surreal as it blurs the lines between the living and the dead, the present and the past in a brilliantly crafted episodic narrative. I initially took this all as subject matter that could not translate into film. But the novel has already been made into film 3 times (in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s) and this new adaptation, currently slated for a late ’09 release, is shaping up to be a high quality one.
Mateo Gil, who co-wrote Abre los ojos and Mar adentro with Alejandro Amenábar is the director and Eugenio Caballero, who won an Oscar for his art direction in Pan’s Labyrinth, is set to be in charge of the production design, taking the huge undertaking of shaping the look of the film.
On top of that, Bernal is going to play the despotic titular character who drives the town into poverty as a result of his own heartbreak and disillusions. Yet another dramatic role for the Mexican star, who was just in Germany presenting his latest film, Mammoth, as part of the Berlin International Film Festival. But before Pedro Páramo and Mammoth, look for Gael in a lighter role in the upcoming Rudo y cursi, opening in May.