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Cannes Buy: The Orchard Acquires ‘Neruda,’ Starring Gael García Bernal and Luis Gnecco

Cannes Buy: The Orchard Acquires 'Neruda,' Starring Gael García Bernal and Luis Gnecco

At a time when there isn’t much left to buy, rising distributor The Orchard picked up North American distribution rights from Participant Media to Pablo Larrain’s stylized “anti-biopic” “Neruda,” which premiered Friday to strong reviews in Cannes in the Directors’ Fortnight section. The Orchard plans an awards-friendly fall release for the film.
Larraín, Luis Gnecco and García Bernal reunited after working together on “No,” which debuted in Cannes en route to an Oscar nomination.

Written by Guillermo Calderon, “Neruda” is set in Chile in 1948. The movie launches with a meeting of the Chilean government — in a gigantic men’s room. Communist Senator Neruda (Gnecco) tries to survive politically via his enormous charm and fame as a world-renowned poet. But the government impeaches him. And President Videla sends police Prefect Óscar Peluchonneau (García Bernal) to catch him while Neruda is on the run with his Argentinian wife Delia del Carril (Mercedes Moran, who co-starred with García Bernal in “The Motorcycle Diaries”). Neruda enjoys a game of cat and mouse, leaving clues and dropping notes to the press as the cop reads his poetry and questions his own identity.

READ MORE: Cannes Review: Gael García Bernal Is a Lost Soul in Pablo Larraín’s Absorbing ‘Neruda’

“Pablo has created a lush, layered film of beauty filled with amazing performances and a style so unique and compelling,” said Paul Davidson, EVP of Film and TV at The Orchard, which is also releasing Participant Media’s “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble” in early June.

The film is produced by Juan de Dios Larraín.

Co-financed by Participant Media in association with Chile’s Fabula, France’s Funny Balloons, Argentina’s AZ Films and Spain’s Setembro Cine, “Neruda” is produced by Juan de Dios Larraín, Peter Danner, Renan Artukmaç, Alex Zito, Juan Pablo García, Ignacio Rey, Gastón Rothschild and  Fernanda del Nido, and executive produced by Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King of Participant Media, Marc Simoncini, Mariane Hartard and Rocio Jadue. Funny Balloons is handling international sales.
Born in Chile in 1976, Larraín is a founding partner with his brother Juan de Dios in the production company Fabula. “Neruda is his sixth feature film which also include “Fuga,” “Tony Manero” (Directors’ Fortnight), “Post Mortem” (Venice) and  “The Club.”
The Orchard’s film division released Academy Award-nominated documentary “Cartel Land,” “The Overnight,” “Dior & I” and “What We Do in the Shadows.” Upcoming releases include Taika Waititi’s “The Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” Roger Ross Williams’ “Life, Animated” and Antonio Campos’ “Christine.” The company is currently in theaters with Joachim Trier’s “Louder Than Bombs.”

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