Country: Argentina, Chile, France, Spain
Language: French, Spanish
Running Time: 108min
Film Year: 2016
Chilean master director Pablo Larraín and Mexican star Gael García Bernal follow their previous collaboration, the Oscar-nominated global hit No, with this sly and seductive period piece poised at the intersection of art, ambition and politics.
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Chilean conservatives launched an offensive aimed at stamping out socialist thinkers and artists—even the nation’s beloved poet Pablo Neruda, who had joined the Communist Party and been elected to the Senate. Acting on pressure from the US government, then-president Gabriel González Videla aimed to make a statement by arresting Neruda, forcing the writer into hiding. Assigned to marshal the hunt for Neruda is Detective Oscar Peluchonneau (García Bernal), a fictionalized gumshoe who immediately senses an opportunity to stake his claim in history.
Morally complex and focused on fostering his own mythology, Neruda is superlatively brought to life by fellow No alumnus Luis Gnecco, but it is Peluchonneau whose journey provides the movie’s axis. He is Larraín and García Bernal’s ideal of a Nerudian character, and it is in his delusions of grandeur that the soul of Neruda (the film), Neruda (the legend) and Chile herself can be found. The Larraínian gift for exploring a subject in the subject’s own style has resulted in another haunting, transcendent masterpiece. – Jaie Laplante
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Director: Pablo Larraín
Producer: Juan de Dios Larraín
Screenwriter: Guillermo Calderón
Music: Federico Jusid
Cinematographer: Sergio Armstrong
Editor: Hervé Schneid