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Bishops Castle Film Society

Neruda - 22nd Nov 2017

Pablo Larrain, Chile, 2016, 105m

We have shown some interesting films from Chile in recent years (The Maid, for example) but Pablo Larrain’s work has not been among them. Yet, in spite of being overlooked by the Bishop’s Castle Film Society, he has emerged as the Chile’s foremost contemporary director, with both Neruda and the US-based Jackie in the same year. Neruda celebrates Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda (1904-73) who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971, and who might well have been a victim of the Pinochet military coup of September 1973 that overthrew the government of Salvador Allende. The film covers a short period in Neruda’s life, when in the late 1940s he was pursued by the Chilean police for his opposition to the nominally left-wing Videla government. He spent several months in hiding before finally escaping over the Andes to Argentina. Neruda might be described as a ‘biopic’, but don’t expect the style usually associated with such films. This one blends fact and fiction in an inventive way, and in its multi-faceted representation of the Neruda character is not in any sense a hagiography.

"Tonally, the film has some similarities with Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo, both in its depiction of the decadent tastes of the political elite and in the density of ideas it packs into each frame. This is a film which demands a level of commitment from its audience, but handsomely repays the focus required to follow this agile display of narrative gymnastics." [Wendy Ide, Sight and Sound, 17.2.2017]



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