A crisis counselor is sent by the Catholic Church to a small Chilean beach town where disgraced priests and nuns, suspected of crimes ranging from child abuse to baby-snatching from unwed mothers, live secluded, after an incident occurs.
Neruda is the third film by director Pablo Larrain to be presented at Quinzaine des Realizateurs (The Director's Fortnight) during Cannes Film Festival, after No (2012) and Tony Manero (2008). See more »
It's so good, it will send you right to his poetry.
"If nothing saves us from death, at least love should save us from life." Neruda
The Chilean Noble laureate Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco)is depicted in Pablo Larrain's Neruda, a fiction showing the poet-politician as heroic, profane, poetic, and fat. He's a stew that can seduce women and provoke presidents, a genius communist in the late 1940's who became a fugitive for joining the party.
The film is alternately serious about this leftist politician and writer pursued by fictional police detective Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael Garcia Bernal) and playful as he cavorts with strumpets to remind us of his vigorous friend, Picasso (Emilio Guttierrez Caba). Neruda is less the poet and more the champagne Communist.
Larrain's filming is poetic, too, full of lush, shadowy shots that reinforce the complex lyrical details of a poet on the run. Yet, this is not a biopic; rather it is an imaginative rendering in the poet's own spirit as it comes through in his poetry and Stalinist affections. A scene with a drag queen discussing how Neruda incites passion is all you need to know about the difference between Neruda's magical words and the lower order of his daily life.
Although Oscar's pursuit of Neruda smacks of Javert's obsession in Les Miserables, Bernal plays him as a serious policeman with a thirst for connection to Neruda. In large part, everyone who meets Neruda, even his fellow legislators when he is a senator, seems to be hypnotized by his words and his bravery.
Most of all the film does an exemplary job of depicting Neruda as a demigod whose very presence demands devotion and a shared passion for life and happiness only through the patient devotion to one's country and one's loves:
"Love is not about property, diamonds and gifts. It is about sharing your very self with the world around you." Neruda
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