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Discovering the labyrinth of Octavio Paz

The works of one of the most influential Spanish writers in history, will be analysed in London on 18 May in a new documentary at the Instituto Cervantes. The exhibition will be accompanied by a talk by its director and an expert in Mexican literature.


Octavio paz el laberinto“Writers must endure loneliness, to know a marginal being. The fact that writers are marginal is more a condemnation than a blessing”. Despite being regarded as one of the most influential writers of the last century and one of the most renowned Spanish poets of all time, Octavio Paz considered himself an outcast.

The Mexican author, translator, essayist and diplomat, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990 but passed away 8 years later. He would be surprised if he were to see the list of 25 personalities involved in the making of the documentaryThe labyrinth of Octavio Paz” (“El laberinto de Octavio Paz”), 2016.

Among them, are writers Mario Vargas Llosa, Jorge Edwards, Hugo Hiriart, Elena Poniatowska and Alberto Ruy Sánchez; poets Pere Gimferrer, Ida Vitale and Jean-Clarence Lambert (first translator of Peace to the French); essayists Juan Villoro, Juan Malpartida and Christopher Domínguez Michael; sanscritists Óscar Pujol and Juan Arnau; Art critics Juan Manuel Bonet and Fernando Castro Flórez; the painter Vicente Rojo; The Chinese scholar Shihua He and the publisher of his complete works Hans Meinke.

Un laberinto de Foto de Pixabay 5Not bad for someone who considered themselves condemned to marginality.

The objective of the 85 minute film – directed and written by José María Martínez and Adela Iriarte – is to offer a glimpse into the work of Paz.

Although the film concentrates on the work of the Mexican, it also addresses stages and fundamental moments of his life. These include, for example, the years in which he lived in India, where he served as ambassador in the 1960s. He also recorded his visit to Spain in 1937, when he attended the International Congress of Writers for the Defence of Culture and his meetings in Delhi and Paris with Maria Jose of Belgium.

Produced by the Instituto Cervantes, the documentary is narrated in Spanish and subtitled in English. Its exhibition in London will be accompanied with a talk by the director Adela Iriarte and Mexican poet and Octavio Paz expert, Pedro Serrano.

laberinto pixabayThe event is organised by the Instituto Cervantes , the Centre for Mexican Studies of UNAM in London and the Centre for Modern Languages of King’s College London. While it is free, it is suggested to reserve a seat in advance.

Date: Thursday 18 May 2017, 6:30 pm. Location: King’s College London, Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Strand, London WC2R 2LS. For more information: here

Photos:  Pixabay – (Translated by Shanika Whight)

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