Cinema International Presents Story of Chilean Politician and Poet

Feb 20, 2019

Born in 1904, Pablo Neruda (born Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto) was a Nobel Prize-winning poet-diplomat and Chilean politician. Assistant professors of Spanish, Ben Post, Ph.D., and Moses Fritz, Ph.D., visit Sounds Good to discuss Neruda's life and Cinema International's upcoming presentation of his biopic. 

Pablo Neruda began to publish his written works at thirteen years old. Three years after his first publication, Neruda became a contributor to the literary journal Selva Austral. Between 1927 and 1935, Neruda was appointed to a number of honorary consulships by the government. The Spanish Civil war affected Neruda strongly, leading him to join the Republican movement in both Spain and France.

His poetry took a noticeable turn towards political and social commentary as he traveled through Burma, Ceylon, Java, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, and Madrid. In 1945, Neruda was elected senator of the Republic of Chile. Due to his protests of a repressive Chilean government under President Gonzalez Videla, Neruda lived undergound in his own country for two years before leaving in 1949. He returned to Chile in 1952, where he published poetry with a more universal reach. 

Murray State University's Cinema International will present a Chilean biopic of Pablo Neruda on Thursday, February 21st, and Friday, February 22nd. The documentary recounts the history of Neruda's tumultuous life while still remaining an entertaining, big budget production. "The movie is mainly inspired by real life events in the political history of Chile and in the life of Neruda," explains Fritz, "but it does take some metafictional turns. From a story-telling perspective, it's really fascinating." Says Post, "it's a film that goes more for painting a realistic psychological portrait of Neruda, as opposed to a strict chronology of what happened to him. I think it's the complexity of that characterization that really sets it apart from most American made biopics." 

Neruda will be presented at 7:30 P.M. on both Thursday and Friday night. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles and is rated R for sexuality/nudity and some language. A discussion of the film will follow the Friday night screening. All films, including Neruda, in the Spanish Film Club series were made possible with the support of Pragda, SPAIN Arts & Culture, and the Secretary of State for the Culture of Spain. For more information on the upcoming biopic and future Cinema International screenings, visit the Murray State website