Don’t look now, but Pablo Larraín is saving the biopic. The Chilean director – best known for his 2012 Best Foreign Film nominee No – has two films out this fall that roughly fit the classification of “biographical motion picture,” but neither Jackie nor Neruda fall into the customary traps and tropes. Both are formally and structurally inventive, jettisoning the traditional march through a famous life for something more improvisational and self-aware.
We got a trailer for the thrillingly experimental Jackie earlier this month; now we have our full trailer for Neruda. It tells the story of exiled Communist Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) through a decidedly unexpected lens: that of Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal), the police inspector hell-bent on capturing him and thus becoming the “hero” of this particular story. By framing Neruda’s journey thus, Larraín ends up crafting a film about far more than one remarkable life – he’s making a movie about storytelling itself, and how we see ourselves in the world. (More thoughts on the movie here, from its run at the New York Film Festival.)
Neruda opens in limited release December 16 – two weeks after Jackie. Anybody else feeling like a bit of an underachiever?