Shooting is set to begin on Pedro Páramo, a Spanish-language movie adaptation of Juan Rulfo’s seminal 1958 novella about a man who promises his mother on her deathbed that he will he will travel to Comala to meet his wayward father for the first time, only to find the town populated entirely by ghosts. Manuel García-Rulfo (The Lincoln Lawyer) has been cast in the title role and will star opposite Tenoch Huerta (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), who who will play Páramo’s son, Juan Preciado.
Despite only selling a couple of thousand copies in the first four years following its release, Pedro Páramo went on to become one of the 20th century’s most acclaimed works of Latin American literature, as well as a major influence on writers like Gabriel García Márquez (who credited his “life-changing” discovery of the book in ’61 with unblocking his mind, allowing him to write One Hundred Years of Solitude) and Jose Luis Borges (who considered it to be one of the greatest works of fiction written in any language).
Rulfo died without publishing another book, but he did live long enough to see his slim opus heralded as a masterpiece, sell a million copies in the US alone, and become the foundation text of an entire literary movement (though whether PP is in fact a work of magical realism is, naturally, the subject of much debate).
Anybody who reads Pedro Páramo is entranced by it. It’s a perfect book—a slippery, melancholy, uncanny thing that can be read in an afternoon but will linger, like the ghosts of Comala, long after its end.
Here’s hoping the upcoming film, the first screen adaptation of Pedro Páramo in over fifty years, can capture even a little of the book’s strange magic.