Pablo Larraín Neruda Interview
Cast: Gael García Bernal, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Morán
Director: Pablo Larraín
Running Time: 108 minutes
Synopsis: A glorious mix of history and imagination, Neruda is the enthralling new film from multi awardwinning director Pablo Larraín (No, Jackie), a lavishly mounted and grandly entertaining depiction of the manhunt for exiled Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda.
It's 1948, and the Cold War has reached Chile. Following the President's outlawing of communism, Neruda (played by Luis Gnecco, bearing a remarkable likeness) and his artist wife Delia (Mercedes Morán) are forced into hiding. Beloved by the populace, they slip underground and are pursued by incompetent, vainglorious police inspector Oscar Peluchonneau (the superb Gael Garcia Bernal), hoping to make a name for himself by capturing the country's most infamous fugitive.
Whilst life on the run holds little charm for the cultured and hedonistic Neruda, he uses the opportunity to reinvent his work and life, leaving clues for his pursuer designed to make their game of cat-and-mouse even more dangerous and thrilling. Thwarting Peluchonneau at every turn, it's almost as if the detective is the man Neruda would have written to chase himself…
Blending visual grandeur and literary wit, Neruda is a beguiling reinvention of the -standard' cinematic biography. Playfully confounding expectations at every turn, the film offers a startling rumination on the split between the person and persona, the man and the artist. Gripping, funny and ingeniously conceived, this is undoubtedly Larrain's finest achievement to date.
Release Date: May 25th, 2017
Interview with Pablo Larraín
Question: Why Neruda?
Pablo Larraín: 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.
Question: How does Neruda, as an artist, experience the events of 1940s Chile, and how do you approach that aspect?
Pablo Larraín: During his escape, Neruda 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. Neruda 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.
Question: Why did you choose Neruda's escape?
Pablo Larraín: Neruda liked crime stories – that's why the film turns out to be a road movie with a police investigation element – genres which involve changes and evolving characters and, in our case, elements of farce and the absurd as well. We see the landscape and all the movement within it as a transformative and illuminating process. No one winds up as he began – neither the hunter nor the prey.
We invented a world, just as Neruda invented his. The film we made is more a 'Nerudian" film than it is a film about Neruda, or perhaps it's both. We created a novel that we would have liked Neruda to read.
Release Date: May 25th, 2017