A sumptuous puzzle of a movie, Neruda takes a turbulent period in the life of the Chilean poet and turns it into a wild fable about a famous man on the run and the imaginary cop who’s pursuing him.
It’s 1948, and Neruda (Luis Gnecco) is a Chilean senator, living in a comfortable house with a huge appetite for the good life. A committed communist, he is already a famous poet, delighting his fellow countrymen with prose at brothels and parties, where he also enjoys taunting the establishment. When the president outlaws communism, Neruda and his wife (Mercedes Morán) are forced into hiding. While the mundanity of life on the run holds little charm for the cultured pair, it proves to be a time of prolific output for the poet, whose ideologically charged poems continue to rouse the people. As Neruda and his wife move through the country’s underground, Larraín (No, Jackie, The Club) invents an ambitious police officer, Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal), who pursues them with passionate disdain. A metafictional fable that blends history with literary and cinematic fabrication, Neruda is both elegant and beguiling. A serious movie that often feels playful, it offers a fittingly Nerudian vision of its protagonist. In Spanish with subtitles.
(Chile, Argentina, Spain, France / 2016 / Directed by Pablo Larraín)
R / 108 mins.