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Renowned Chilean writer and politician Pablo Neruda was the people’s poet who inspired restless artists and radical dissents worldwide. Neruda’s story has been documented quite extensively but never before has a fiction drama been made about his life. Chilean director Pablo Larrain  (director of Jackie) has come up with an original plot in Spanish (with English subtitles) combining Neruda’s history and a little poetic license to convey an imaginative tale about a manhunt for the outspoken poet that takes place in 1948 when the Videla administration had banned communism in Chile.

Neruda (Luiz Gneco) accuses Videla of deceiving the communist party and as a consequence he becomes a fugitive and is fiercely hunted by Peluchonneau, the chief of police played by Gael Garcia Berna.

This film takes you on a dramatic journey through Chile and Argentina but it’s also packed with humour and solace revealing Neruda as a communist trailblazer who was quite fearless and enjoyed playing games with his enemies. Neruda is a captivating film about a man who for most Chileans is a revered national icon.

★★★★

Reviewed by Daniel Jaramillo.