by Nathaniel R
Pablo Larraín, currently Chile's most celebrated director, first broke into the festival circuit via his second film, the violent and disturbing Tony Manero (2008). I found it so upsetting that I thought I'd never risk another one of his features. That resolve didn't last long. His international breakthrough No (2012), was a hit with audiences, critics, and the Oscars and surprisingly enjoyable too. But due to the always unpredictable release dates of movies, we didn't see his work again until 2016 and then there were three movies at once, the sex predator priest drama El Club, the playful writer on the lam whatsit Neruda, and of course the outstanding Oscar hopeful Jackie.
You might call this Pablo's Year but for the fact that he doesn't coddle the audience and his films are as likely to unsettle and challenge as they are to reward you with their significant pleasures like fascinating performances, strong themes, unexpected humor, and emotional acuity.
When we found an opportunity to talk I figured I'd jump into the deep end about the unsettling nature of so many of his features. Our interview follows...