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"Memories of My Melancholy Whores" Film Sued: Group Wants To Stop Production

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MEXICO CITY — Efforts to film Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez's latest novel are meeting resistance in Mexico, where an anti-prostitution group is seeking to block production, charging the movie will promote child prostitution.

"Memories of My Melancholy Whores" tells the story of a bachelor who for his 90th birthday decides to give himself the gift of a night of "wild love with an adolescent virgin."

The Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean filed a criminal complaint with Mexico's Attorney General's Office on Monday. The complaint does not specifically name Garcia Marquez, but instead "whoever is responsible for acts that could be constituted as the crime of condoning child prostitution."

Coalition director Teresa Ulloa told The Associated Press that a movie adaptation of the Colombian author's novel would promote pedophilia and be accessible to a wider audience.

"As a book, it does not have access to the most vulnerable people in society," she said. "Once they make the movie, it will be in movie theaters and later it will surely be on television."

The Attorney General's Office did not immediately respond to requests for information on the lawsuit.

The film's co-director and producer, Ricardo del Rio, told Mexico's Reforma newspaper in an interview published Tuesday the lawsuit's claims were inaccurate and unfair.

"They are censoring a film before it's been made, without knowing either the script or the vision of the director," he said.

He told Reforma that filming, scheduled to begin in late October, had been postponed because government officials in the Mexican state of Puebla had decided to withdraw funding for the movie in light of the lawsuit.

Puebla's government said in a statement released Tuesday would not help fund the $8 million film.

Del Rio said producers had picked a 21-year-old actress, Ana de Armas, for the movie part, and that the character's age would not be dealt with in the film.

"Here they have simply killed our adaptation. They have dealt us a fatal blow because we can't film without all the resources," he said.

Representatives of Memorias del Sabio Producciones, listed as the producer of the movie on a Mexican government Web site, said filming has been delayed but did not provide further reactions to the lawsuit.

"We are actively working to make this film project ... We know it is a film that will awaken an interesting debate, just as it will make us grow as a society," producer Raquel Guajardo said in a statement.

Ulloa said stopping the adaptation was her organization's goal.

"We don't want them to put Garcia Marquez in jail," Ulloa said. "What we want is for them not to film the movie."

She said the governments of Denmark and Spain were providing funding for the film. The coalition also plans to send letters to those governments asking them to reconsider their participation, she said.

"Memories of My Melancholy Whores," published in Spanish in 2004, is the Nobel Prize-winning novelist's most recent book. When the novel came out in Mexico, publishers described it as a "hymn to life."

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Associated Press writers E. Eduardo Castillo in Mexico City and Edmundo Velazquez in Puebla, Mexico contributed to this report.

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