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First Look: ‘No’ Director Pablo Larraín Channels ‘Neruda’ with Gael García Bernal

First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal

Pablo Larraín and star Gael García Bernal were a match made in heaven for “No,” the small-scale political drama about the 1988 defeat of Pinochet that won the Chilean director a Cannes prize in 2012 and grabbed a foreign Oscar nom.

Larraín turns once again to fact-based material in “Neruda,” the latest project under the Participant PanAmerica banner aiming to develop and finance films for and from Latin America. Filming is now underway in Chile.

Luis Gnecco takes on the title role of the dissident Nobel prize-winning poet opposite García Bernal  as police inspector Óscar Peluchonneau who’s hunting him in the 1948 Cold War days of Chile. Then a senator, Neruda criticized the right-wing government, which called for his impeachment. In the film, a failed attempt to flee the country forces Neruda and his wife, painter
Delia del Carril (Mercedes Moran), to bunker down with the Chilean underground, where Neruda pens his literary celebrity-making “Canto General,” and sparks European artists such as Pablo Picasso to call for his freedom.

WATCH: Larraín and García Bernal Just Say “No”

With a screenplay by Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderon (Sundance 2012 World Cinema Jury Prize winner “Violeta Went to Heaven”), “Neruda” is an international co-production of Chile’s Fabula, France’s Funny Balloons and Reborn Productions, Spain’s Setembro Cine, and Argentina’s AZ Films, co-financed by U.S.-based Participant Media, which also acquired North American rights.

The film is produced by Juan de Dios Larrain, and executive produced by Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King. It will be distributed in Chile by Twentieth Century Fox, and will premiere in the winter of 2016.

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