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How ‘Neruda’ Turned The Biopic Genre on Its Head

Making of ‘Neruda’: How a Biopic of a Chilean Communist Poet “Completely Turned the Genre on Its Head”

The Hollywood Reporter – November 14, 2016

By Tatiana Siegel


In Latin America, Neruda is like the water,” says Chilean director Pablo Larrain. “Neruda is everywhere. It’s the way you understand everything. It is a whole chapter of your education.”

He’s referring to Pablo Neruda, the much beloved, Nobel Prize-winning poet and left-leaning Chilean politician, who in 1948 became an enemy of the state to the virulently anticommunist regime that was then ruling his country. And it’s that chapter of Neruda’s remarkable life — the 13 months he and his wife spent hiding from police, smuggled from house to house by supporters and fans, and his subsequent escape across the Argentinian border — that Larrain, 40, has made the focus of Neruda, Chile’s 2016 entry for best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards.

“He combined politics and poetry,” says the filmmaker of his subject. “That’s something that’s missing today. Can you imagine a serious, powerful poet today writing about one of the contenders in the next election in the U.S.? It would be absurd. But in those days, it was possible.” Read more.