Title: Neruda

Director: Pablo Larraín 

Starring: Luis Gnecco, Gael García Bernal, Mercedes Morán, Alfredo Castro. 

Filmmaker from Chile, Pablo Larraín, through his ‘Neruda’ engages audiences with a highly intellectual cinematic exercise worthy of Luis Buñuel’s surrealism.

The poet’s life is too broad and dense to condense in a biopic, therefore Larraín decides to focus on the way Senator Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco), under the order of President Gonzalez Videla (Alfredo Castro) was chased by police officer Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal), for his involvement with the Communist Party.

Thus begins a suave and unconventional detective story, set during the Cold War. The protagonist is a legendary literate, and the co-star is his partner, the painter Delia del Carril (Mercedes Morán). Peluchonneau seems to play a secondary role….or maybe the author will promote him to a leading part of the story.

The Pirandellian mechanism, through which Larraín’s Neruda is simultaneously one of the puppets of the conundrum and the puppeteer, is discerned little by little. Neruda’s book of poems ‘Canto General,’ that was written during his escape, serves as backbone to a phantasmagoric experience. The audience’s mind travels on multiple levels: the biographical aspect that captures the soul of a great poet, the cat-and-mouse chase that keeps us on the edge of our seats, and the existential crisis of a young detective who feels inadequate, that creates great empathy with viewers.

The unconventional road movie ? as the genre imposes ? is about the journey and not the destination. Politics is the starting point and along the way poetry takes over. Hence, the film becomes about how an ordinary man chases a living legend ? who is also trying to become a symbol for a nation ? to give meaning to his life.

Technical: A

Acting: A

Story: A

Overall: A

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Neruda Movie Review

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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