‘Neruda’ star says he knew film will be criticized in Chile

Santiago, July 16 (IANS) The actor who portrays Chile’s foremost poet in “Neruda” said here that he was not surprised by Chileans’ negative reaction to the film.

“I always knew that ‘Neruda’ was going to be much criticized because we Chileans don’t know how to contend with fiction,” Luis Gnecco told Efe in an interview.

Gnecco’s work in the film earned him a best-actor nomination in the fourth edition of the Platino Prizes for Ibero-American Cinema, which are to be presented on July 22 in Madrid.

“Neruda” a Chilean-Argentine-Spanish-French co-production directed by Chile’s leading filmmaker Pablo Larrain, is focused on the 1947-49 period when the poet, diplomat and committed Communist was a target of political persecution.

“Many factors led to this film’s being more of a success outside Chile than inside, curiously. But it doesn’t surprise me that it’s that way,” the 58-year-old Gnecco told EFE.

“In Chile, we don’t contend well with our fiction, we are very basic. People wanted this to be a kind of ‘docu-reality,’ but for that it’s better to watch a film on the History Channel,” the actor said.

Gnecco, who has watched the film more than a score of times, said he had to put aside everything he thought he knew about the Nobel literature laureate and undertake a detailed study of Neruda (1904-73) and the historical period.

He said the Platino Prizes are among a number of platforms which serve to unite the world of Ibero-American film and, specifically, to provide wider exposure for Chilean cinema.

Gnecco, popular for the comic characters he usually portrays in Chilean television series, said his appearances on for the small screen are just about paying the bills and giving him the freedom to accept more challenging roles in film.

“I am very happy with what I do. I have dared to move around, something that not everybody does. We actors are timid people, it takes effort to overcome a certain inertia, but by moving I have succeeded in connecting,” he said.

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