Massimo's idyllic childhood is shattered by the death of his mother. Years later, he is forced to relive his traumatic past and compassionate doctor Elisa could help him open up and confront his childhood wounds.
Clara, a 65 year old widow and retired music critic, was born into a wealthy and traditional family in Recife, Brazil. She is the last resident of the Aquarius, an original two-story ... See full summary »
Like the poetry of Neruda, Pablo Larrain's film tells the story of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda during his years underground before he made his way to Argentina then to Paris. The narrative has a variety of styles: surreal, a political manifesto, autobiography and passionate love poems. Neruda embraced Communism, marked as he was by the Spanish Civil War that only the Soviet Union supported the democratic Republic that Franco and his generals overthrow during three years of violence. The film opens in 1948: Neruda is a senator and the Communist Party has strength among workers and peasants, intellectual and students, allies among the bourgois as well. And it hopes that soon it would be the government. Cut to 1948, the year of the beginning of the Cold War. The CPs in Italy and France met defeat at the voting booth. A 'coup' in Czechoslovakia brought the communists to power. Greece is in Civil War, and the fear of triumphant Soviet Communism has sent a shiver up and down the spine of North, Central and South America. Gonzales Videla outlawed the CP of Chile. Those like Neruda went underground; the less fortunate were rounded up, sent to prison, one governed by Pinochet and camps; still other were tortured, assassinated and became 'non-citizens', depriving them of a livelihood. And it is in this watershed of Chilean history, Larrain situates his film. We see Neruda, wonderfully embodied by Luis Gnecco, physically and magically in the way he uses language. as a devotee of luxury and sensual vices; he finds pleasure in bordellos, where fancy imagines a transgendered man sings his poems. And in the fleshpots, awash in champagne, you see the magnetic personality of Neruda. He finds a common thread of humanity and offers a message of class and human equality that is a fundamental truth of communism. The full measure of Neruda as a beacon of the masses is the oblique reference to the power of the Word; Neruda read in 1945 to 100.000 in Brazil his poetry that entranced the audience. In Chile, he addressed 10.000s and his poetry was read and sung by workers, by the common people. Of course his poetry speaks to them, but furthermore, he spoke to them of their condition, hopes and dreams and a common humanity that made Neruda dangerous to the government. An inspector played with understate by Gael Garcia Bernal. He is Oscar Peluchonneau, the illegitimate son of the creator of the national police. A child of the whore house, born with a venereal disease, says he. He is a personage who practices self-denial and austerities; he denies worldly pleasures and comforts. Tracking Neruda, he is like the Hound in Francis Thompson's poem. He has a talent for pursuing Neruda; he's intuitively keen, but he is no match for Neruda, who, contrary to Party disciple, roams the streets, visits prostitutes, to the existential pain of his minders. And as Neruda goes from hidden houses, he leaves a book of poetry for Peluchonneu, who diligently reads the poems. They don't chame him, only strengthens his resolve to capture Neruda; the capture of the poet would wash him of his low birth and to him worthy of a father who never really knew of his son. The camera takes us from cities to the Andes; it is well controlled and wonderfully filmed. We may be bewitched by Neruda the poet, and if we know something of Chilean history, a indebted morally or ethically by his politics. (With the rise of Trump, the film may also speak to what an authoritarian would do to those who don't hold his orthodox radical views.)
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