Neruda (15)

Neruda (15)

Directed by Pablo Larrain
Picturehouse, Liverpool
Until 13th April 2017

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This was mediocre fare. But hackneyed is perhaps the best term.

It tells the story of Pablo Nerudo (Luis Gnecco) after the Chilean government banned communism in 1948.

The film chronicles the life of Nerudo during that year but director Pablo Larrain (who had earlier directed Jackie, heaven forbid) twists out of shape the true facts about what occurred to him.

Instead of relying on Neruda’s own memoirs – he was a Nobel prize-winning poet – Larrain decided to put forward his own version of events.

The principal misjudgement by him is in having most of the story told from the viewpoint of the police inspector, Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael Garcia Branal), who is in charge of the manhunt for Neruda, having been forced into hiding for his so-called extreme political views.

Strangely, the film also has no reference to Neruda eventually escaping from Chile into Argentina and then to Europe.

Despite residing in Europe, he increasingly became a symbol of the struggle for freedom and civil liberties in his home country.

One commentator, remarking about the movie, said that ‘we do not see the immensely moving capacity of poetry to break down barriers between people of diametrically opposed political beliefs.’

Since when has poetry ever served to prevent or halt savage conflict between humans? Never is the answer!

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