It’s 1948 and the Cold War has reached Chile. In congress, Senator Pablo Neruda accuses the government of betraying the Communist Party and is swiftly impeached by President Gonzalez Videla. Police Prefect Oscar Peluchonneau is assigned to arrest the poet. Neruda tries to flee the country with his wife, the painter Delia del Carril, but they are forced into hiding. Inspired by the dramatic events of his new life as a fugitive, Neruda writes his epic collection of poems, Canto General. Meanwhile, in Europe, the legend of the poet hounded by the policeman grows, and artists led by Pablo Picasso clamour for Neruda’s freedom. Neruda, however, sees this struggle as an opportunity to reinvent himself.
"For us, Neruda is a false biopic. It’s a biopic that isn’t really a biopic because we don’t really take the task of making a portrait of the poet that seriously. Simply because that’s impossible. So we decided to put together a film from elements of invention and playfulness. In that manner, the audience can soar alongside him in his poetry, his memory, and his Cold War communist ideology." (Pablo Larraín)