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Poet and political activist Pablo Neruda has to go into hiding. Police chief Peluchonneau is hot on his trail but Neruda is always a step ahead in this phantasmagoric cat and mouse game.


Chilean director Pablo Lerrain has dealt with his country’s history in an impressive way in the past. His trilogy TONY MANERO, POST MORTEM, and NO! revolved around the fight against the Pinochet’s military dictatorship in the late 80s and he received an Oscar nomination for NO!. Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) becomes popular in the late 40s for criticizing Frente Popular and president Gonzáles Videla who is trying to push the communists out of the government. The poet and political activist doesn’t give up so easily. He goes underground, with his first Delia del Carril (Mercedes Morán) at first who leaves him when she gets sick of the womanizer’s escapades. Police chief Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal) is hot on his trails but Neruda is always a step ahead in this phantasmagoric cat and mouse game.

We can’t expect a conventional biopic out of Larrain, especially after JACKIE. The screenplay by Guillermo Calderón, who also wrote Larrain’s harsh reckoning with the church EL CLUB, gives no introduction to the work of Nobel prize winner or Neruda as a person. It dispenses with historical classification and puts us smack in the middle of the events that are accentuated by Neruda and Peluchonneau’s inner monologues. Luis Gnecco, who was also in NO! just like Gael García Bernal, gives a fascinating character study of a vain and genius thinker. Bernal uses his comedic talents to play a puppet of the law who is also a man with unfulfilled dreams. Intoxicating images showcase Larrain’s surreal, semi-fictional hunt which leads Neruda to the snow and Peluchonneau to the edge of his sanity.

Lars Tunçay

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Frankreich/ USA/ Argentinien/ Spanien/ Chile 2016, 108 min
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Pablo Larrain
Author: Guillermo Calderón
DOP: Sergio Armstrong
Montage: Hervé Schneid
Music: Federico Jusid
Distributor: Piffl Medien
Cast: Antonia Zegers, Alfredo Castro, Mercedes Morán, Alejandro Goic, Pablo Derqui, Luis Gnecco, Gael García Bernal
FSK: 12
Release: 23.02.2017




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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