Oscars: Chile Selects 'Neruda' for Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of TIFF

Gael Garcia Bernal plays a policeman persecuting the Chilean poet in the biopic directed by 'Jackie' helmer Pablo Larrain.

NerudaPablo Larrain's biopic of Nobel-winning poet Pablo Neruda, will be Chile's submission to the foreign-language film category at the Oscars, the country's Culture and Arts Council president announced Tuesday.

The film premiered in May at the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes and is scheduled for U.S. release by The Orchard on Dec. 16. The project features Luis Gnecco (Narcos) as the poet and communist senator.

The story focuses on the political persecution Neruda suffered after he was ousted from Chile's Congress in 1948 and the manhunt for his arrest led by police commissioner Oscar Peluchonneau, played by Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle).

Chile's Oscar submission in 2015 also was a Larrain film: Berlinale winner The Club. The filmmaker, whose Natalie Portman-starrer Jackie is receiving Oscar buzz for its lead and was recently nabbed by Fox Searchlight, was actually the last Chilean director to grab a foreign-language film nomination in 2012 with No, which featured Garcia Bernal as the publicist who developed a campaign to defeat dictator Augusto Pinochet's attempt to remain in power through a plebiscite.