Mark Eisner is author of the biography Neruda: The Poet’s Calling and editor and translator of The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems.
Gael García Bernal, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Morán,
How many characters can one writer be? Larraín’s fictionalized portrait of the Chilean Nobel Prize–winning (1971) poet Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) in the postwar era posits him as an elected senator and an enemy of the state, a people’s poet and a poseur, a hedonist and a faithful partner, and a crime novel devotee who writes his own top cop (Gael García Bernal) into the story of his cat-and-mouse escape from the authorities. “In this fiction,” someone says, “we all revolve around the protagonist.” Underneath the magical realism are brooding undertones of Chile’s future (and Neruda’s grim end) at the hands of Pinochet.