New film on Gabriel García Márquez and his teacher

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[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Based on a book by Beatriz Parga, La maestra y el Nobel [The teacher and the Nobel], Danish filmmaker Niels Juul will produce a film on Gabriel García Márquez’s first love, his literature teacher in primary school—the Montessori School in Aracataca, Colombia. When García Márquez won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, he dedicated the award to his teacher, Rosa Fergusson, who instilled in him his passion for books. Here are excerpts from “Gabriel García Márquez y Rosa ‘la bella’: relato de la primera gran historia de amor del escritor colombiano,” an article by Elia Baltazar (Infobae).

Gabriel García Márquez had a first love during his childhood: Rosa Fergusson, the woman who sowed in him the first seed of his passion for literature and inspired him to write through the stories that she used to tell. Fergusson was his primary school teacher at Maria Montessori School in Aracataca, Colombia, where the writer was raised by his grandparents: Mrs. Tranquilina Iguarán and Colonel Nicolás Márquez.

Indeed, he dedicated the Nobel Prize for Literature to her. He announced it at a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden in 1982: “I dedicate this award to my first teacher at the Montessori School in Aracataca, who, when I was 5 years old, taught me to love literature.”

García Márquez’s “love story” will have its film version next year, based on the novel La maestra y el Nobel, by Colombian journalist Beatriz Parga, who wrote the book in 2009, inspired precisely by the school teacher who definitively marked the writer’s life.

“It’s the story of two souls who love each other for a lifetime,” says Danish producer Niels Juul, confirming the start of the filming in 2019 with locations in Colombia, Mexico, and Sweden.

The producer—well known in Hollywood for films like Silence (2016) and The Irishman (2019), both by Martin Scorsese—is still looking for partners to help finance the project. [. . .]

Rosa Helena, the beautiful

Rosa Fergusson was the daughter of a British father and a Colombian mother. She always expressed pride for having been one of García Márquez’s teachers. According to her relatives, she never stopped reading his books and she had his entire collection in her home, with paragraphs marked where her name appeared or where there were references to her.

All the books that broach the writer’s life describe her as a “beautiful” woman, who became a teacher when she was just 16 years old. In those days, she wanted to travel to Bogota, the capital of Colombia, or to Barcelona, Spain, to take advantage of a specialization scholarship that the government of her country had granted her. Since her mother objected, the teacher accepted money from her parents to open a school and direct it. Thus was born the Montessori Institute of Aracataca, where, in 1933, she met the boy they called Gabito. García Márquez was then an introverted, quiet, diligent child who blushed when the teacher approached him, as Fergusson told the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

The teacher was far from imagining that this child, over the years, would become a celebrity of the world of letters, but she had already sensed that this student would have much success thanks to his prodigious memory. “He was the only one capable of repeating a story almost verbatim after I read it to him,” the teacher recalled in the interview she gave when she turned 60 and received a tribute in Aracataca.

Little was known of her outside Colombia, until journalist Beatriz Parga interviewed her at the request of Gabo himself.

“She instilled in me the pleasure of going to school, just to see her,” said the Nobel Prize-winner, according to the biography that Gerald Martin wrote about the writer, Gabriel García Márquez: A Life. [. . .]

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For full, original article (in Spanish), see https://www.infobae.com/america/cultura-america/2018/12/12/garcia-marquez-y-rosa-la-bella-relato-de-la-primera-gran-historia-de-amor-del-escritor-colombiano

Also see “La maestra de Gabito” at https://www.eltiempo.com/opinion/columnistas/heriberto-fiorillo/la-maestra-de-gabito-heriberto-fiorillo-303352 and “Productor danés prepara película sobre la vida de Gabriel García Márquez” at https://www.efe.com/efe/america/cultura/productor-danes-prepara-pelicula-sobre-la-vida-de-gabriel-garcia-marquez/20000009-3849872

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