Film on Pablo Neruda


Now listen, I’ll be the first to join the chorus of those saying that the attention given to Pablo Neruda is disproportionate. He is but one of an army of Chilean poets, dead and alive, who have contributed to a grand corpus in this incredibly lyrical country. Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize in 1971, following in the footsteps of Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, who won the nobel prize in 1945. It was she who discovered him and encouraged his writing, despite the prohibitions of his father, who thought that poetry was totally gay. True enough, but is there anything wrong with that?

Many who complain about Neruda’s overshadowing of the rest of Chilean poets still acknowledge that his poetry is incredible. And apart from poetry, he was a pretty important political figure, a Communist who spent many years in exile. Even despite being criminalized during a dictatorship prior to Pinochet’s, communists in Chile have historically been a lot more mainstream than socialists. Today, it’s reversed, but in Neruda’s time (and, i think, this is echoed today among Chilean university movements) communists were the ones who made alliances and compromised more, for better or for worse, while socialists were the bottle breakers. Pablo Neruda was no bottle breaker, he was a diplomat who befriended a number artistic greats, and often appeared alongside Salvadore Allende during Chile’s belle epoque (osea, would-be “belle” if it weren’t for CIA-sponsored strikes designed to make it look like Allende couldn’t take care of his country).

Anyway, Chilean communism comes from worker movements in the pampa, mining flats in the harsh Atacama Desert in the north of Chile, and pre-date the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. When researching for the film Deserted Memory, we found that Pablo Neruda wrote a book/essay about his journeys through the when running for senator of the Tarapacá region. He witnessed first hand the horrendous conditions of the workers, and wrote about it.

Mark Eisner, director of the upcoming Pablo Neruda documentary, was an incredible help rounding up the troops for funding the Chacabuco Project, our production effort for Deserted Memory, a DVD soon to be released, which deals in part with the history of workers movements in the north.

The first cut of Eisner’s upcoming Pablo Neruda film was lauded as a “fine documentary” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and was screened to a packed house in SF three years ago. Now it’s rounding up funds for a full scale film, and you can help by donating at all sort of levels, a few bucks or more if you like. Donate Now!

Mark is a scholar who spends much of his time translating Neruda’s poetry, and seems to be one of the more qualified people to create a film about Neruda. Regardless of whether or not Neruda overshadows other Chilean poets, he’s more than Chile – he’s an important poet for the world. And without his poetry, what reference point would superb Chilean antipoetry a la Nicanor Parra have?

So do your part by helping out a good work about an important cultural icon, someone who’s inspired and influenced a generation of poets and who has made a lasting impression on the world’s artistic and political discourse.

Donate now.


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