Magical realism is a literary genre, but it’s also a broader term for works of art that blend the real world with fantasy or surrealism.

And magical realism isn’t limited to books — you can find it in movies, art, music, and even games.

Magical realism is often defined as an aesthetic style rather than a genre. Magical realism was first popularized in the early 1900s by Spanish writers like Jorge Luis Borges, who were influenced by European authors such as Franz Kafka and Guy de Maupassant.

What Is magical realism

What Is magical realism in literature and film?

Magical realism is the genre of literature and film that blends fantasy, magical and surreal elements with the mundane and everyday.

The term was coined by Alejo Carpentier in 1949, who defined it as “reality transformed in such a way that it can be taken for magic.”

The term ‘magical realism’ has been used to describe the work of many artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, including writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez (heavily influenced by Carpentier), and filmmakers like Luis Buñuel and Guillermo del Toro.

Magical realism is often associated with Latin American literature but can be found in other works around the globe.


Magical realism is closely linked to postmodernism, which developed at roughly the same time as magical realism, around the 1940s.

In fact, some people use postmodernism synonymously with magical realism.

Both genres are concerned with how art reflects reality, but postmodernism refers to a specific theory or philosophical approach while magical realism is a literary style.

The term “magical realism” was criticized by some reviewers when Latin American authors first began publishing in English translation.

Many readers felt that magic should not be combined with reality — it was either one or the other.

What Is Magical Realism?

The style has since been adopted in many parts of the world and has become a staple of Latin American literature.

Magical realism is characterized by subtle unreal elements that are present in otherwise ordinary settings and situations.

These elements often have a symbolic nature and are used to comment on themes like identity, race, and class. They suggest possible realities that exist beyond what we know or perceive to be true.

Magical realist works depict characters leading ordinary lives in an ordinary world that contains supernatural elements such as ghosts, demons, or angels.

The most notable exception to this rule is magic itself, which seems to be accepted as part of reality without question or explanation.

What Is Magical Realism In Film

Magical realism is a literary genre that contains elements of fantasy and surrealism. In a magical realist story, the narrative presents something which could be true, but is unlikely or impossible.


Magical realism has been around since the 19th century and has become increasingly popular in modern times. Many films have used this genre to great effect, and some of them are listed in this article.

What Is Magical Realism In Film?

Magical realism is often used in literature and film to present fantastical events in an otherwise realistic setting. The genre aims to present the seemingly fantastical as though it were commonplace — perhaps with a touch of humor or horror.

The stories of Franz Kafka, Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende employ magical realism within their narratives. More recently, films such as Amélie (2001) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) have explored the genre.

Through its use of magical elements, the genre can explore themes such as alienation and existentialism. It can also be used to explore political issues — for example, when one society imposes its values on another.

Magical realism was born during the Spanish Civil War, when artists explored the conflict by using surrealism in their work.

What Is Magical Realism In Literature

Magical realism is a genre of fiction that focuses on the strange and the fantastic. Although magical realism may sound like science fiction, it is quite different from its sci-fi counterpart.

Magical realist authors describe reality in a way that seamlessly integrates fantasy elements into their work.

Magical realism involves supernatural occurrences that don’t fit into the realm of fantasy. While this definition may seem confusing, examples of magical realism can help to illustrate what exactly this genre entails.

Magical realism is a type of literature that adds dreamlike or surreal elements to an otherwise ordinary story. It is often referred to as the “literary uncanny,” an oxymoron indicatingthat something ordinary has been transformed into something strange or eerie.

This phenomenon occurs when the world depicted in a narrative seems to blend with our own reality, and it often results in bizarre situations or events. Despite these fantastical attributes, magical realism does not take place in a fantasy world, nor does it involve supernatural beings.

Magical realist authors do not invent new worlds or supernatural occurrences; rather, they use literary devices to describe reality in such a way that it seamlessly integrates fantasy elements into their work.

Magical Realism Characteristic

Magical Realism is a genre of literature and film that incorporates magical elements into a realist narrative. Magical realism explores very common experiences in an often fantastical way, and these two juxtaposed genres, realism and fantasy, can be found in the same work.

Magical realism is one of the post-modern genres of literature in which the narrative has a fantastic or dreamlike quality to it. It can also be known as fabulism because it invokes fables and myths with its surreal or strange imagery.

Magical realism was first used by Franz Roh in 1925 as a term for German poetry, but it was later applied to other forms such as painting and film, as well as literature. Magical realism’s characteristic style is to describe things with an objective tone while creating specific images that are subjective and fantastical.

The term “magical realism” is based on the expression “la cosa maravillosa,” which was used by Spanish essayist Alejandro Casona in 1927 to describe Spanish author Gustavo Adolfo Becquer’s short story “El Coronel no Tiene Quien Le Escriba.” The story contains imagery of floating islands and other objects that could not be seen from a plane’s perspective at that time.


When Did Magical Realism Begin?

Creative writing is sometimes referred to as magical realism. It is a genre of literature where magical elements are used in stories that are otherwise completely realistic.

For example, a writer may use magic to explain the way their character gets into a certain situation, or to create obstacles for the character. Magical realism may be found in fantasy literature, as well as in some modern and postmodern novels and films.

Authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, and Salman Rushdie have used magical realism in their work. 

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born on March 6, 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia. In his earlier years, he was interested in journalism but later became a novelist.

His first novel was published in 1967 and titled “No one Writes to the Colonel”. He went on to write many more books including “100 Years of Solitude” (1967), “Love in the Time of Cholera” (1985), and “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” (1981).

Marquez’s most famous novel “100 Years of Solitude” took him 10years to write. The literary genre of magical realism was first established in Latin America.

When Did Magical Realism In Film Begin?

At first glance, magical realism might seem like a very contemporary art form. After all, if we look at the most popular examples of the genre, such as The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, it’s fairly easy to assume that this kind of storytelling is a product of the 21st century.

But in reality, magical realism has existed in various iterations for decades and centuries before Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling took the world by storm with her series of novels. Credit for the creation of magical realism goes to Nobel Prize-winning Peruvian writer and poet, Mario Vargas Llosa.

Llosa wrote short stories which contained elements of fantasy and science fiction, but always managed to keep his work grounded in some kind of reality.

The most notable example of this was his 1972 story, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, which was later adapted into a 1993 film by Chilean director Raúl Ruiz entitled The Old Man With the Wings.

The genre quickly gained popularity around the world, with many writers finding inspiration from Llosa’s works. Perhaps the most well-known example is Gabriel García Márquez’s 1982 novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold which follows a murder investigation in a small town in Colombia.

What Are Some Of The Critical Debates Around Magical Realism?

Magical realism, a literary movement that began in Latin America, incorporates fantastical elements into otherwise realistic settings.

The term was popularized by Alejo Carpentier, who wrote in the genre and coined the term in his essay “Magical Realism: The New Story,” which appeared in the collection “The Kingdom of this World” (1949).

In the essay, Carpentier asks whether magic realism is a new kind of writing or an old one. The debate has raged on since then.

The debate can be summarized as follows: magical realism is either an aesthetic mode or a historical one. Those who believe it to be the former tend to favor authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende, while those who prefer the latter emphasize writers like Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison.

Both sides of the debate enjoy pointing out that Jorge Luis Borges, though he does not fall neatly into any camp, is perhaps the biggest proponent of magical realism being a historical mode. Here are some other questions that have been asked about magical realism: What is magical realism? Is magical realism political? Is magical realism’s relationship to death significant?

Is Magical Realism Political?

I like to think that magical realism is political, but not in a way that can be easily reduced to a slogan or a bumper sticker. Magical realism isn’t telling stories about revolutions, or about the ways the state oppresses its citizens, or about poverty and misery.

Rather, I would suggest that magical realist novels are inherently political because they are always already asking questions about the relationship between reality and fiction; between representation and reality; between what we perceive as reality, and what is actually real.

To me, at least, this is a fundamentally political act. Why? It’s because magical realist texts ask us to engage with the world in a different kind of way.

They encourage us to question our perceptions of reality; to look at the world in an open-ended way; to not take things for granted; to look beneath the surface level of things and see them in a new light to recognise that there is more than one way of looking at each object and situation, and that there is always more than one narrative about any event or person or thing.

Was Gabriel Garcia Marquez A Magical Realist?

Magic realism is a genre of literature that often takes place in a more modern time period. It has been described as a “combination of the realistic and the fantastic, where elements that are normally accepted as mundane become mysterious or uncanny.”

The term was first used by Franz Roh in 1925, who defined magic realism as “the tendency in modern narrative (German expressionism and surrealism being two examples) to dissolve pictorial illusion in a manner that achieves the fantastic without violating the physical laws of the real world”.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is often considered the Magic Realist. His writing is so detailed and descriptive that he makes you feel like you are actually experiencing everything.

In his novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Garcia Marquez uses magic realism to its full potential. The story takes place in a small village where everyone knows everyone else’s business.

When Santiago Nasar is murdered, it catches everyone by surprise. Yet, though no one expected it, everyone has their own theory on who committed such an act and why.

Garcia Marquez used magical realism to show how people can be so blind to reality that they can’t even accept something as simple as death when it’s staring them right in the face.

Great Magical Realism Movies That Are Worth A Watch

Magical realism is a genre of fiction in which magical events occur in an otherwise realistic setting, often without any explanation. It is sometimes called fabulism, in reference to the conventions of fables, myths and allegory.

Magical realism as a genre began in the 1920s and 1930s with such writers as Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel Angel Asturias, Isak Dinesen, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. 

The best magical realist films transport you to an entirely different reality. They draw you into their world through surreal imagery and dialogue.

Many of them are foreign films since they are not so concerned with the limitations of special effects budget or American audiences’ taste. 

However, even a film that was originally written in English can be considered magical realism if it has been translated well enough to feel authentic while maintaining its mystery.

The films listed here feature magical realist elements or plots that will engage your imagination by making you question what you see on screen or by forcing you to look at the world through a different lens.

Some are comedies while others are dramas and still others are horror films; they all have a touch of magic that makes them remarkable viewing experiences.