The Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda is well known for his sublime love poems. But this film brings to the foreground Neruda’s political poetry. It begins in 1948, immediately before Neruda (played by Luis Gnecco) has to go into hiding: he has publicly condemned the Chilean president Gabriel González Videla. As a communist and senator, Neruda is driven from both the Senate and his home and must flee with his wife. Police detective Oscar Peluchonneau is trying to apprehend them. Peluchonneau narrates the film, and he strongly aspires to make a name for himself in the unfolding drama. NERUDA is an elegant, poetic thriller and an original depiction of Chilean history.
Larraín has described the film as an anti-biography. He eschews traditional storytelling techniques in order to reflect the complexity of Neruda’s life and art. The film draws upon fact and fantasy, and is thus able to explore creatively the diverse legacy of Pablo Neruda.