Netflix’s Production of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is a Bold Showcase of Latin American Culture

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” 

With these haunting words, acclaimed as one of the best opening lines in literature, Gabriel García Márquez introduces readers to the enchanting world of Macondo in his celebrated novel, “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Now, after a decade since the passing of the Nobel laureate, Netflix embarks on a momentous endeavor to translate this literary masterpiece to the screen, promising an adaptation that honors the allure of García Márquez’s timeless narrative. 

Published in 1967, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” chronicles the Buendía family across generations as they navigate love, loss, and the passage of time. This monumental work of literature magisterially weaves themes of the cyclical nature of destiny, the illusion of progress, and the enduring power of memory. In 1982, García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, with the Swedish Academy praising his work “in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.” With sales exceeding 50 million copies and translations available in over 46 languages, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” stands as the crowning jewel of the literary style known as magical realism. 

The prospect of witnessing the story unfold on screen is magical in itself. It’s worth recalling that Gabriel García Márquez was initially opposed to the idea of adapting the story for the film, once even stating: “In a time of conflict with cinema, I said that I had written ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ against cinema.” 

However, in 2019, when Netflix acquired the rights to adapt the novel, Rodrigo and Gonzalo García Barcha, sons of the author and executive producers of the series, addressed their father’s stance. While García Marquez believed it “impossible to capture it within the time constraints of a movie and thought that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice,” they emphasized that the current golden age of series and a global appreciation for content in foreign languages, presented an opportune moment to bring this adaptation to Netflix’s global audience.

“But mostly our conscious is clear, because he always said: when I’m not here, do whatever you want” the García Barcha brothers told Bloomberg. Apart from overseeing the most general aspects of the adaptation — ensuring it was in Spanish, predominantly Colombian, and of sufficient duration to do justice to the book — the siblings allowed Netflix to unleash all its resources to make their father’s seminal book shine.

The outcome is nothing short of epic, as Netflix has spared no expense in bringing to life the enchanting world of Macondo. Spanning across various locations in Colombia, the main set of One Hundred Years of Solitude sprawls over 128 acres in Alvarado, Tolima, making it one of the largest sets ever built in Latin America. Painstakingly recreated, we will witness multiple iterations of Macondo as it unfolds through a century of events, seamlessly blending reality with wonder.

Mexican Oscar winner Eugenio Caballero (Pan’s Labyrinth) and Oscar-nominated Bárbara Enríquez (Roma) are leading the production design. Based on what we can see in the teaser and further explorations of the production, every aspect reflects a dedication to capturing the essence of García Márquez’s literary masterpiece.

In the hands of Dynamo Producciones (Narcos, American Made), the series boasts a collaboration between Argentinian Alex García López (The Witcher) and Colombia’s own Laura Mora (The Kings of the World) as co-directors. 

A plethora of predominantly Colombian talent will portray the saga of the Buendía family. Claudio Cataño takes on the role of Colonel Aureliano Buendía, second-born of the patriarch Jose Arcadio Buendía, played by Marco González. Given the narrative’s emphasis on the passage of time, across the 16-episode series, we will see Colonel Aureliano depicted as a boy by child actor Jerónimo Barón (Sound of Freedom); and as a teenager by Santiago Vázquez. Leonardo Soto portrays the firstborn of the Buendía clan, Jose Arcadio, while Susana Morales makes her debut as the indomitable matriarch, Úrsula Iguarán. Additionally, Melquíades, the enigmatic wanderer pivotal to the Buendía’s fate, will be brought to life by Spanish actor Moreno Borja.

The production of One Hundred Years of Solitude arrives at a pivotal moment for Netflix as it refines its global strategy. As Francisco “Paco” Ramos, VP of Latin America Content, emphasized, “Netflix in each country has to feel very unique to that country.”

Indeed, Netflix is delivering! Alongside this monumental project, the streaming giant is simultaneously undertaking the adaptation of another Latin American classic, Pedro Páramo, in Mexico, as well as The Eternaut, a sci-fi series filming in Argentina, and a drama centered around Brazilian F1 idol Ayrton Senna. As Netflix’s most ambitious project in the region, One Hundred Years of Solitude represents the pinnacle of its commitment to showcasing the diverse voices and cultures of Latin America on the world stage.

As anticipation mounts for the 2024 series release, fans eagerly await a faithful portrayal of their beloved story. Moreover, they welcome the chance to witness Colombian culture depicted in a manner that defies clichés, offering a fresh perspective on the region’s rich tapestry. The ambitious adaptation promises to be a fitting tribute to one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century.

One Hundred Years of Solitude will debut on Netflix this year.

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Featured image: Claudio Cataño is Colonel Aureliano Buendia in “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Courtesy Netflix.



Paulísima is a writer, content creator, and language coach. Formerly a labor lawyer, she earned a Master's degree in World Literature in Malaysia. Her writing explores topics that make her Mexican heart sing, including the triumph of Latinx talent in the entertainment industry and pop culture viewed through an intersectional feminist perspective.