Erendira

A little less straining for the fantastic might have better served the fantasy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novella, in which an adolescent girl accidentally destroys the mansion and treasures of her despotic grandmother and is forced into prostitution to repay the staggering debt. Director Ruy Guerra relies on special effects and even animation to re-create the dream-state desert of Marquez's story; he achieves some lovely effects, but at the expense of the matter-of-fact approach to the supernatural that makes Marquez's work so enchanting and surprising. Dramatically, this 1983 film resolves into a trite conflict between the evil grandmother and the angelic peasant boy who loves Erendira and wants to save her—trite because the broad acting immediately lifts the characters to the level of fable, cleansing them of the naturalistic dirt that might have given them some life. With Irene Papas, Claudia Ohana, and Michael Lonsdale.

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