Tired of journalism and hoping to make the most of his passion for cinema, Gabriel Garcia Marquez He arrived in Mexico in 1961. Carlos Fuentes He had been married to an actress for four years, Rita Macedo, he was intimate with Luis Buñuel and had made his first steps writing a short film. While Juan Rulfo, 10 years older and with his two great works already published, he was the most involved with the celluloid of the time: he had shot with Maria Felix and written scripts for the Indio Fernández. Dragged by a kind of gold rush, the buoyant Mexican film industry not only attracted the three giants of literature, but put them to work together.
Everything was forged in the “Dracula’s castle”, as García Márquez called the headquarters of the producer of Manuel Barbachano. There, in the gatherings of that dark house in the capital and by the hand of his Colombian countryman Álvaro Mutis, the newcomer came into contact with Spanish exiles such as Carlos Velo, one of the star directors of the Mexican gold cinema, or Fuentes himself, who was already starting to emerge after the publication of The most transparent region (1961). From that effervescent breeding ground the opportunity will be born: in 1963, Gabo enters to work as a scriptwriter adapter of a text by Juan Rulfo, The golden rooster, a short novel – not published until 1980 – about fatality and fortune throughout the world of fairs and tahúrs that Rulfo already wrote thinking about his adaptation to the cinema.
Juan Rulfo is a common place to stay with Pedro Paramo and his collection of stories, The Burning Plain. And relegate to a ladder less than The golden rooster. Much of the misunderstanding arises from the way it was published. Belatedly, in 1980, under the title: The golden rooster and other texts for cinema. The rest, The secret formula Y The spoil, were specifically designed as cinematographic language. But “The golden rooster it is not a script, it is a novel, and readers have ignored it by misinterpreting it, ”explains Douglas J. Weatherford.
Researchers estimate that it began in 1956, only one year after its publication. Pedro Paramo. “After the success of the novel, he begins to receive offers to adapt it to the cinema. Then he decides to write a work without so many complexities. Something more filmable, but of course, a literary text, not cinematographic, ”says Víctor Jiménez, director of the Rulfo Foundation. Gabo himself had the same opinion: “The language was not as thorough as the rest of his work, and there were very few technical resources of his own, but his personal angel flew throughout the field of writing.”
The film would be released in 1964 and the script that was known is from that same year. Until now. Lost among the family archives, the director’s son, Roberto Gavaldón, has found a new text dated in December 1963. Protected by the Rulfo Foundation, the text will come to light for the first time in an imminent book entitled Juan Rulfo and the cinema. The script, to which EL PAÍS has had access, consists of 68 typed pages, bound in green pastes and with two names as authors: Gabriel García Márquez and Carlos Fuentes, the same adapters that appear in the final script – along with the director – but with the order of appearance reversed.
“The fact that his name first appears suggests that the principal authorship is García Márquez, while the second would perhaps be more of Fuentes. These are two very different texts from each other. The first is much more literary and the second is not simply a correction but a thorough rewriting, ”says Douglas J. Weatherford, a professor at Brighan Young University in Utah, an expert on film and Rulfo relations and lead author. from the budding book, which will be co-edited by the university and RM.
His thesis is based on a cluster of peculiarities of literary character, very Gabo style, even with some nod to his second novel, which has just been published in Colombia, The colonel has no one to write to him. Modifications that do not appear in the novel of Rulfo or the second script: the accentuation of the supernatural powers of the protagonist and the rooster – with echoes to the animal of the colonel -, the existence of a spooky people reminiscent of Comala and evocation from a landowner named Pedro Páramo. “We attended a wonderful intertextuality as a result of García Márquez’s sensitivity and his reading of Rulfo’s work,” adds the researcher.
The almost exclusive authorship of Colombian Nobel would also be reinforced by a comment to one of the scenes, where the screenwriter refers to himself as “the adapter”, in the singular. The typed text also contains a handmade annotation, a line of dialogue added to a bartender. With black ink and round stroke, the researchers award it to García Márquez, a hypothesis also corroborated by the Gabo Foundation. “He comes from a bittersweet experience as a correspondent in New York and in Mexico he looks for a more stable job through cinema, which he had fascinated since childhood.
He was critical in the Colombian press and came to receive screenwriting, directing and editing classes at the Experimental Center of Cinematography in Rome, ”says Jaime Abello, director of the Foundation. The dialogues that young Gabo cared for so much would have been, paradoxically, the cause of the subsequent entry of Fuentes to the project. From production, Barbechano considered that they were written “in Colombian” and asked for a second hand to correct them. In fact, Fuentes, had long been involved in the adventures of Barbechano, who tried with the presence of strong names in the new literature, revitalize an industry that began to show signs of exhaustion. For at least a year, I worked with director Carlos Velo in the adaptation of Pedro Páramo, who would end up filming in 1966.
Rulfo himself was involved in the start-up of the project. His trips to his native Jalisco are searched for locations for the film. Rulfo’s intervention in the adaptation of The golden rooster It is more nebulous. The only indication is another comment to one of the scenes, where after a long description of the protagonist’s suit it is said “according to the verbal description of Rulfo himself”. When García Márquez arrived in Mexico, he had not yet heard of the Jalisco author. Until one night his friend Mutis climbed the seven floors without elevator of his Mexican house and discovered Pedro Páramo. “Since the tremendous night I read the Metamorphosis Kafka did not suffer such a commotion, ”he wrote in an article paying tribute to Rulfo in 1980, where he explained the origin of his relationship with the cinema:“ Someone told Carlos Velo that I was able to recite full paragraphs from memory Pedro Paramo“
Flattering reality or exaggeration, an already mature Gabo continued explaining in that text that his fascination with Rulfo’s work went even further: “He could recite the entire book, back and forth, without an appreciable fault, and could say in what page of my edition was every episode, and there was not a single trait of the character of a character that I did not know thoroughly ”.
“1.- Credits. San Miguel del Milagro Street. Dawn
Sunrise While the credits pass, the bells of a church are heard.
(San Miguel del Milagro is a town of colonial construction: portals with arcades, houses with smooth walls and wide and cobbled streets. At dawn, the weather is cool and wet, and the stones of the streets shine with dew. At noon it is hot and dry, with a zenith and dusty sun that shines through the walls of lime and produces a drowsiness inside the houses).
Women with black shawls head to the church. At the bottom of the sound of the bell begins to be heard, remote, the cry of a crier. His words, still incomprehensible, seem a regret.
As the credits progress, the figure of the crier appears at the bottom of the street. He carries in the mana an oil lamp that swings from side to side as he shouts his proclamation.
The bell stops ringing when the last credit appears. The crier approaches the foreground. It’s Dionisio Pinzón. ”
Thus begins the first script that García Márquez wrote, an adaptation to cinematographic language of Juan Rulfo’s novel, The golden rooster, a tragic story about the rise and fall of Dionisio Pinzón, “one of the poorest men in San Miguel del Milagro.” Thanks to his wife, the Caponera, a live amulet that helps men earn wealth, Pinzón enters the world of the galleros, mariachis and tahúres who pursue their fate from fair to fair through the towns of the Mexican Bajío.