Neruda (2016)

Neruda (2016)

Dave author picThe best praise I can give a film is that it reminds me of Buñuel, so when I describe Pablo Larrain’s latest, Neruda, as Buñuelian you should know that I don’t do so lightly.

Neruda is a biopic of the Chilean poet-politician, but one that heartily embraces the ambiguous blend of fact and fiction that defines biographical films. eg. One of the film’s earliest scenes has the unapologetically Communist Neruda (Luis Gnecco), address his political rivals from a urinal in a lavishly-furnished toilet, and the film that follows similarly teeters on the border between seriousness and ridiculousness (hence the comparison to ol’ Buñny).

The film covers Neruda’s flight from Chile’s senate, as he hides from imminent reprisals, and the quest of policeman Óscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal) to find him. The aforementioned melange of silly and solemn is best realised in the mystical, moving third act, which dissolves the integrity of Peluchonneau’s character until he’s explicitly revealed as a fictional character within the diegesis.

Heady stuff; not for everyone. But definitely for me, even if I admit minor vexation at Larrain’s insistence at a homogenous, lens-flare-heavy look. Give me some visual diversity, and I’m ready to proclaim it a masterpiece.

3.5 stars

4 thoughts on “Neruda (2016)

  1. Sounds amazing!!
    Although I don’t think I’ve seen any Luis Buñuel films, am aware of his collaborations with my all time favourite artist, surrealist, Salvador Dalí !!!!!
    I’d love to see Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou, L’Age d’Or, Belle de Jour (love Catherine Deneuve), et al!!!
    So this film feels like one of his creations!! That’s a Plus Point, there itself!!!
    And, although, I haven’t read any of Pablo Neruda’s work, I know about him!!
    In Mohsin Hamid’s novel “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (one of my favourite books), there is a whole segment set in Chile, and specifically Neruda’s home!!
    Plus am a great fan of Gael García Bernal!!!

    • Ha, sounds like this film would be perfect for you then! Worth reading “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” then, I take it? If you’re going to get into Buñuel, make sure you check out both The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and That Obscure Object of Desire

      • Yes, I’ve heard of those two films of the 70’s as well!! Thanks for the recommendations!!
        Yes, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” is a really superb novella!!! I highly recommend it!! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Portman and Larraín Interrogate the Myth of ‘Camelot’ in Jackie | ccpopculture

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