Neruda vs. Jackie: a Chilean in Toronto

By Ilse Apellaniz

Pablo Larrain is a Chilean director, screenwriter and producer who’s been in the festival circuit spotlight for a while now. His filmography has earned him several awards, among which we can stand out the Best Film award at the Turin International Film Festival for Tony Manero back in 2008, and the Silver Bear at the 2015 Berlinale for El club. Larrain has, nonetheless, never been as recognized as he is this year. With two films screening in massive fests around the world, the hype around the Chilean director is definitely no joke. Both features are bio-pics, but the main characters are as different as they are illustrious. Neruda and Jackie both carry the names of their leads: the most famous Chilean poet of all time and the wife of President John F. Kennedy converge in Larrain’s world. Both films have been critically acclaimed, the first one after its premiere in Cannes and the latter after its recent release in Venice.

Both films are now screening at the Toronto International Film Festival and although they’ve both been highly anticipated, Jackie has been more talked about internationally (possibly because of its original English language, as well as the fact that it stars no other than Natalie Portman). Larrain has praised Portman for her performance, and the actress is being talked about as a strong contender in the race for the 2017 Academy Awards. Portman has stated that this has been her most challenging role yet, because she’s never had to embody someone as publicly known as Jackie Kennedy: “the way she moves, the way she talks… everything”. Her efforts, however, paid off. Her emotional performance is what makes this intimate and powerful tale come alive.

Expect Jackie very soon at the fifth edition of the Los Cabos International Film Festival!