Neruda scholar Mark
Eisner has created a straightforward, well-crafted overview
of the great late Latin American poet's life, work and times
in this new documentary. "Pablo Neruda Presente!" is getting
its world premiere in conjunction with a San Francisco multimedia
festival commemorating the centennial of the subject's birth.
Pic should have a long shelf life as an educational and broadcast
A Red Poppy production. Produced by Mark Eisner, Joanna Friedman,
Lily Galvez. Directed by Mark Eisner.
With: Rafita, Sergio Insunza, Aida Figueroa, Juvenal
Flores, Roser Bru, Ines Valenzuela, Mario Toral, Federico
Schopf, Hugo Arevalo, Jose Miguel Varas.
(English and Spanish dialogue.)
Narrated by fellow scribe and Chilean Isabelle Allende, pic begins
with the oft-repeated notion that Neruda died in 1973 --
during the military coup that put Pinochet's brutal regime
in power -- of a broken heart. Certainly his lifelong socialist
political ideas had taken enough punishment already, especially
during a period of forced exile that only served to heighten
his international fame as both artist and outspoken humanitarian.
From boyhood to student radicalism, early literary successes
and parallel career as a consul appointed to various nations,
Neruda lived a remarkably adventuresome life. (His romantic
life tended to roam, too.) Archival footage, recited passages
from the Nobel Laureate's hugely influential writings, handsome
shots of the native landscapes he loved, and interviews
with surviving intimates make smoothly handled package a
Camera (color, HD), Roddy Blelloch;
editor, Daniel Gahr; music, Quique Cruz. Reviewed on DVD,
San Francisco, July 10, 2004. Running time: 83 MIN.