Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning poet Pablo Neruda in this inventive biopic, which playfully creates a cat-and-mouse adventure as it traces two years in which he was pursued by government officials who wanted to arrest him for his communist ideas. It's funny and emotional, and visually stunning as it criss-crosses Chile from the ocean to the ice-capped Andean peaks. And its originality makes it simply stunning.
In 1948, Pablo (Luis Gnecco) is a senator in Chile's parliament when right-wing President Gonzalez (the great Alfredo Castro) begins cracking down on communists. Pablo is famous for his movingly evocative poems, which champion the working classes even though he lives the life of a rock star. So he goes into hiding with his painter wife Delia (Mercedes Moran), abandoning their amazing art-filled home for a cramped apartment. As they wait for their handlers to figure a way to smuggle them out of the country to Europe, they learn that the government has assigned a top cop to track them down: Oscar (Gael Garcia Bernal) is a second-generation detective with serious daddy issues. He's also relentless in his pursuit, following Pablo and Delia around the country as Pablo leaves tantalising clues behind.
The film is structured like an extended chase sequence, as these two men try to outsmart each other. Along the way, the story traverses Chile both ideologically and geographically. Even with the quirky-arty tone, the perspective is remarkably internalised. The central idea is that these two men need each other to define who they are, fuelling each others' obsessions as they essentially create each others' stories. It's a complex idea that plays out with comedy and insight that's conveyed sharply by the two actors, who invest plenty of wit into the procedings.
Continue reading: Neruda Review
Sara and Julia are twin sisters, the sisters were always close growing up, but as their lives developed, they moved away from one and other. Both women suffer from a degenerative disease of the eyes which causes people to go blind, Sara's case is more advanced than her sister to the point that she's already lost her sight. Vulnerable and alone, Sara is found in the basement of her home with a noose tied around her neck.
Continue: Julia's Eyes Trailer
When her twin commits suicide, Julia (Rueda) finds the official story hard to believe. Her husband (Homar) goes along with her secret investigation, mainly because she's suffering from the same degenerative eyesight that left her sister blind. But Julia sees conspiracies and danger everywhere, all of which is dismissed by the local cop (Orella). Then more people start dying, and Julia continues to have trouble accepting the police's version of events. She finds some comfort from her doctor (Grao) and a hospital aide (Derqui). But the truth is worse than she imagined.
Continue reading: Julia's Eyes [Los Ojos De Julia] Review
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