Renowned Chilean director reveals plans for Pablo Neruda biopic

Pablo Larraín’s next film will be a portrait of Chile’s Nobel Prize-winning literary son, focusing on his poetry and his political career.

Beyond its vast, varied natural beauty — or perhaps its wine — Chile is arguably best known for its many literary greats and foremost among them is certainly Pablo Neruda.

It is thus only fitting that one of Chile’s best-known modern day cultural exports — cinema — will be the medium to portray this national hero and the pivotal era he lived through.

Pablo Larraín, director of Oscar nominated “No,”  will head up the biopic of Chile’s Nobel Prize winning poet which has a working title of “Neruda.” The picture will be produced in part by Fabula, the production house Larraín co-runs with brother and long time collaborating producer Juan de Dios Larraín.

So far details are thin on the ground but the movie is reportedly set in a defining moment of Neruda’s life  — 1946 – 1948 — when he joined the Communist Party, was elected Senator, fled the country and began writing one of his most acclaimed works, “Canto General,” a 231-line ode to Latin America.

“The film turns on Pablo Neruda defining his identity as a human being, where he stands for the rest of his life,” Juan de Dios Larrain told Variety.

Larraín is currently writing the screenplay with Guillermo Calderon, the co-author of another recent successful Chilean production, Andrés Wood’s Sundance-success “Violeta Went to Heaven.”

However, the Academy Award-nominee has plenty on his plate at the moment. Larraín is set to direct the 1921 Russian opera Káťa Kabanová, originally written by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček, later this year.

The opera will run at Santiago’s Teatro Municipal, one of the city’s oldest and best-loved venues which suffered a large fire late last year, but thanks to the brave work of firefighters managed to avoid damage in the opulent main hall. Now the theater is under reconstruction and set to open in the coming months.

While “Neruda” is still a ways from reaching big screen, Larraín’s opera directorial debut is not such a wait away. The first showing will be May 4. Tickets available via the Teatro Municipal box office and online via their website.