“Neruda” has landed a Golden Globe nod for Best Foreign-Language Film, a feat Pablo Larraín’s biopic failed to replicate with the foreign-language Oscar committees, alas. The Orchard opens the film stateside on December 16.
The prolific Chilean filmmaker — whose 2012 film “No” did earn an Oscar nomination and first English-language film “Jackie” has plenty of awards traction — sat down alongside “Neruda” co-star Gael García Bernal for a video interview, below, to discuss the eponymous poet, cinema in transit and whether Bernal’s character is real or fictional.
“Both” is the actor’s coy response, which speaks to the playful nature of Larraín’s metafiction. “We like to say that this movie, more than a movie about Neruda himself, is a movie about the Nerudian world,” adds Larraín. That includes not only what the writer/politician read and wrote, of course, but also what he cooked and collected. “The whole point here is to blend it — what’s fiction, what’s real — to the point that it’s an idea that you reach in poetry.”
The elliptical “Neruda” certainly does that, shirking biopic convention in favor of an experiential approach that’s even more out-there than “Jackie.” Referring to an interview Jonathan Rosenbaum once conducted with Jean-Luc Godard in which the filmmaker mentioned thinking of film as a plane or train, Larraín offers: “That’s how I think we should understand cinema: as something that’s in transit from an unknown destiny.”
Toward that end, “Neruda” is a “fabricated accident” that could “create another accident that we don’t control.”