A poem of a film about a great poet


Neruda a film by Pablo Larrain, with Luis Gnecco as Neruda and Gael García Bernal as the fictional private investigator Oscar Peluchonneau. The film chronicles in an imaginary way the life of the famous Chilean poet just after the end of WW2 during regime of Gabriel González Videla. In 1948 Neruda was threatened with arrest as communism had been banned by the government and Pablo Neruda was a staunch communist his poetry loved by the poor  and used as a political tool by the party.
So Neruda went into hiding and he and his wife Delia del Carril excellently played by Mercedes Morán were smuggled from house to house hidden by supporters and admirers for thirteen months.  Neruda’s life underground ended in March 1949 when he fled over the Andes to Argentina on horseback.

The film is part a biopic that plays with the truth and part a noir with the chain smoking police man playing the part of the villain as our hero is chased into exile. The dream like surreal element of the film makes the cruel regime seem silly and Oscar Peluchonneau is a clumsy investigator that seems enchanted by Neruda’s poetry as much as everyone else.

Some of the scenes are edited in a poetic and non chronological way, the photography and editing of the whole film is reminiscent of the tempo in one of Neruda’s poems. The film is a gloriously silly and imaginative tribute to one of the world’s most famous love poets.

Available on DVD, Blu-ray, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video,

Curzon Home Cinema & BFI Player 10th July


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