Film: “La peste del insomnio” [The plague of insomnia]


Fundación Gabo ( recently shared the short film La peste del insomnio [The plague of insomnia], directed by Venezuelan producer Leonardo Aranguibel. The film involves more than 30 actors from Latin America, who seek to evoke hope in the midst of the health and economic crisis unleashed by Covid-19, through the reading of excerpts from Gabriel García Márquez’s Cien años de soledad [One Hundred Years of Solitude] alluding to “the plague of oblivion.” Watch the 15-minute film here: ‘La peste del insomnio’ and read more about it at Fundacion Gabo estrena el cortometraje “La peste del insomnio.”

The short film includes readings from the following actors: Argentina: Ricardo Darín, Adrián Suar, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Lorena Meritano, Carla Quevedo, Gustavo Garzón, and Flor Raggi. Brazil: Alicia Braga. Chile: Paulina García, Benjamín Vicuña, Luis Gnecco, and Francisco Reyes. Colombia: Marcela Mar, Andrés Parra, Manolo Cardona, Julián Román, Maricela González, and Ana María Orozco. Cuba: Yoandra Suárez. Mexico: Dolores Heredia, Damayanti Quintanar, Héctor Bonilla, Gabriela Roel, Leticia Huijara, and Irán Castillo. Venezuela: Rebeca Alemán, María Alejandra Martín, Iván Feo, Javier Vidal, Julie Restifo, and Mariaca Semprún.

Here are excerpts from “La Fundación Gabo estrena el cortometraje ‘La peste del insomnio.’”

“We are living a very difficult moment, but it is up to us to invoke the dawn sooner or later, so we wanted, in the midst of this confinement, to remember that the sun always rises again,” said Aranguibel, who felt the desire to create solidarity and a non-profit project.

“At the beginning what I wanted was to invite my friends to join me, but then people who I had not previously had the luck of meeting joined the project. We looked for the best talents behind the scenes, and, in each country, we found someone (…) We asked the actors to read or interpret the excerpts, but we wanted them to be themselves,” said Aranguibel, who serves as production manager at Disney Media Distribution Latin America, although this initiative was developed individually.

[. . .] “This has happened in literature but also in the history of humanity, so living it and finding parallels and metaphors in the work of García Márquez seems very strong to me,” said Ana María Orozco.

The short film is yet another proof of the anchoring of García Márquez’s magical realism in everyday life. In both literature, cinema and journalism, Gabo frequented topics related to diseases and plagues with a high degree of rigor and precision, a fascination recently highlighted by his son Rodrigo García Barcha, film director and member of the Board of Directors of the Gabo Foundation, in an article published in The New York Times.

In the case of the disease that struck Macondo, there are many similarities and references that connect it to the Covid-19 pandemic. From the announcement of the arrival of the plague by the indigenous woman Visitación, and its spread through the village in the face of the indifference of its inhabitants, to the role of the sentinels who tried to contain the disease whose consequence was not death, as in the case of the coronavirus, but rather oblivion. In the end, as in other works by Gabo in which hope always dwells, the inhabitants of Macondo find ways to adapt to their own pandemic, to find the cure at the hands of the gypsy Melquíades, and to recover their memories as well as their previous lives.

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For full article (in Spanish), see

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