No One Writes to the Colonel (1999)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama, Rural Drama  |   Run Time - 118 min.  |   Countries - Spain, France, Mexico, Peru, United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Gönül Dönmez-Colin

Based on the novel of Gabriel Garcia Marquez by the same name, but set in the forties, the film is a reflection on life and its illusions by the Mexican master Arturo Ripstein. In a small coastal town in Mexico in the late 1940's, an obstinate colonel of the anticlerical Cristeros War keeps waiting for the pension that has been promised to him but never delivered. Every Friday, he goes down to the docks, dressed in his best suit in anticipation of the arrival of the letter announcing his pension. Everyone knows that he is waiting in vain, but he refuses to face reality, even though, deep in his heart, he knows that the letter will never arrive. His wife is suffering from asthma; their son Agustin was killed by the fascists; and the roof over their head will soon be taken away because of the unpaid mortgage. Yet the Colonel stands by his dream, refusing to give up despite poverty and hunger. He knows that if he lets go, there is nothing else left. His wife Lola proposes to sell the cock, which is the only thing left behind from their son. But the Colonel does not want to give up the fighting cock, which he believes will win one day. The story is rendered in a simple and straightforward narrative style unlike Ripstein's earlier work, which is more baroque, or Marquez's magical realist style. Repeated close-ups accentuate the damages of a long and hopeless wait on a person's inner strength. Veteran Fernando Lujan is remarkable as the Colonel, but Spanish Marisa Paredes shines as the wife who suffers in dignity. Salma Hayek has a brief appearance as the prostitute who had a relationship with Agustin. In competition at the 52nd Cannes Film Festival, 1999.



colonel, wife, death, dignity, letter, Mexican [nationality], pension, poverty, rooster, son