NERUDA, film by Pablo Larrain which revolves around the Chilean politician-poet Luis Gnecco, made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
Chilean director Pablo Larrain’s sixth feature, NERUDA, a noir-infused reimagining of the Nobel Prize-winning poet and politician’s struggle with the state, had its world premiere on Friday 13 May in Cannes at the Directors’ Fortnight
It’s 1948 and the Cold War has reached Chile. In congress, Senator Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) accuses the government of betraying the Communist Party and is swiftly impeached by President Gonzalez Videla (Alfredo Castro). Police Prefect Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal) is assigned to arrest the poet. Neruda tries to flee the country with his wife, the painter Delia del Carril (Mercedes Morán), but they are forced into hiding. Inspired by the dramatic events of his new life as a fugitive, Neruda writes his epic collection of poems, “Canto General”. Meanwhile, in Europe, the legend of the poet hounded by the policeman grows, and artists led by Pablo Picasso clamor for Neruda’s freedom. Neruda, however, sees this struggle with his nemesis Peluchonneau as an opportunity to reinvent himself.
He plays with the inspector, leaving clues designed to make their game of cat-and-mouse more dangerous, more intimate. In this story of a persecuted poet and his implacable adversary, Neruda recognizes his own heroic possibilities: a chance to become both a symbol for liberty and a literary legend.
NERUDA is the sixth feature film from director Pablo Larraín, following Fuga (2005), Tony Manero (2007 Cannes Film Festival, Directors’ Fortnight), Post Mortem (2008 Venice Film Festival, In Competition), No (2012 Cannes Film Festival, Directors’ Fortnight), and The Club (2015 Berlin Film Festival, In Competition). He also directed Profugos, HBO’s first ever series produced in Chile, in 2010 with a second series aired in 2013. He is a founding partner of the production company Fabula through which Larrain has acted as producer on feature films including Sebastián Silva’s Nasty Baby (2015 Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals) and Sebastián Lelio’sGloria (Silver Bear winner at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival).
Why Pablo Neruda?
We see and feel Pablo Neruda as a creator who is so complex and extensive, practically infinite, that it’s impossible to put him into a single category, to make a single film purporting to establish or define his personality or his work in a hard and fast way. That’s why we chose the story of the escape, the investigation and the literary legend. For us, Neruda is a false biopic. It’s a biopic that isn’t really a biopic because we don’t really take the task of making a portrait of the poet that seriously. Simply because that’s impossible. So we decided to put together a film from elements of invention and playfulness. In that manner, the audience can soar alongside him in his poetry, his memory, and his Cold War communist ideology, says the director, Pablo Larraín
How does Pablo Neruda, as an artist, experience the events of 1940s Chile, and how do you approach that aspect?
During his escape, he wrote a good part of “Canto General” which is perhaps his most massive, complete and risky book, inspired as it was by everything he saw and everything he went through during his escape. The writing is full of fury and flights of fancy, full of terrible dreams and full of a cosmic description of Latin America in crisis – angry and desperate. He constructed a political tome about war, rage and poetry while on the run, which opened the door for us to a wildly imaginary investigation, because – like the poet and his work – the film constructs an intersection between art and politics from a cinematic and literary point of view, says the director.
Featured image: Neruda – Luis Gnecco (Pablo Neruda) Copyright line is © 2016 – Fabula – AZ Films – Funny Balloons – Setembro Cine – All Rights Reserved