Oscar-nominated Chilean director Pablo Larrain was in Cannes this month with his Directors’ Fortnight entry, Neruda. The Orchard quickly picked up U.S. rights to the film which stars Gael Garcia Bernal as a government inspector on the hunt for the Nobel Prize-winning poet of the title, Pablo Neruda, who becomes a fugitive in his home country in the late 1940s for joining the Communist Party. Larrain sat down with Deadline (see video above) to discuss the film which was a long-in-the-making passion project.
Neruda had widely been expected to be in Competition, but went instead to the Fortnight which has bulked up on big-name directors of late. Larrain says he was ultimately happy with the film’s position. “When you come to Cannes, at some point there is some kind of a democracy because no matter where you are, it’s the movie (that matters).”
Larrain has seen his star steadily rise in recent years. He scored a Foreign Langage Academy Award nomination with 2012’s No, which also starred Garcia Bernal, and this year was nominated for a Golden Globe with The Club. Latin American cinema itself has increasingly evolved in the past several years with diverse stories coming from varied countries around the region. Larrain told me during our chat that given the different emerging voices, he and his contemporaries can no longer be “put in a box.” He explained that there’s a desire to get away from the “arty” label. “Why do we have to have that brand all the time? Just because of the fact that the movie is subtitled and it’s not in your original language it doesn’t mean you have to put us in that box.”
Larrain is trying his hand at non-subtitled fare. He is currently in the editing room on his first English-language film, Jackie, which follows the movements of Jacqueline Kennedy after the assassination of her husband, President John F Kennedy. Natalie Portman stars in the eponymous role.
Larrain told me he was excited to get back to editing the Darren Aronofsky-produced film. “Cinema is to fabricate an accident and then that accident happens in a way that I don’t control and I don’t want to control it. I’m fascinated by the idea that at some point we’ll understand and see what we are making. I’m right there. I have a sense of where it’s going, but the pleasure of sitting in the editing room is something that I am expecting very gladly… I don’t know exactly where it is, but I can tell you for sure that it won’t be a classic biopic.”