Date of Birth: August 19, 1976
"Up until now – and this might change – I've leaned towards subjects I find uncomfortable and that elicit a sense of danger. And that’s what has motivated me to make the films I've made. There’s a lack of conformity, something that’s actually rather elusive. They’re small approximations of something that may turn out to be uncomfortable. And I think that in that discomfort, there’s a lot of beauty, too." - Pablo Larraín, in magazine.
Although Pablo Larraín has only directed seven feature films in his career, he has consistently been named one of the most promising young foreign directors of his generation. He has also earned widespread critical applause for nearly all of his films, which include Fuga (2006), The Club (2015), and Jackie (2016).
Pablo was born Pablo Larraín Matte in Santiago, Chile. His parents are both politicians — his father, Hernán Larraín, is a senator for the Independent Democrat Union, while his mother, Magdalena Matte, was a minister of Housing and Urbanism for former Chilean president Sebastián Piñera. Pablo did not follow in his parents' impressive footsteps, however, instead studying audiovisual communication at the University for the Arts, Sciences, and Communication in Santiago.
In 2005, Pablo directed his first feature film, Fuga (2006), which follows a composer who is so obsessed with his own composition, he goes insane. Of the provocative plot, Pablo said, "Music exists in a space of abstraction that is entirely emotional. It's one of the things that you can't talk about, you just have to listen. It creates an enormous mystery. In Fuga, I tried to combine different elements that are connected with abstractions of music." The film went on to win several awards in the Latin film festival circuit, including the Málaga Spanish Film Festival and the Trieste Festival of Latin-American Cinema.
His second film, Tony Manero (2008), took another unique look at mental illness, exploring one man's lifelong obsession with the John Travolta film Saturday Night Fever (1977). The drama garnered even more acclaim than Pablo's first outing, earning awards from juries in Warsaw, Torino, and Miami.
The political drama Post Mortem (2010) came next, starring Alfredo Castro as a pathologist's assistant who falls in love with a burlesque dancer during the 1973 coup to overthrow President Salvador Allende. The film competed at the 67th Venice International Film Festival.
Following the success of Post Mortem, Pablo began work as a producer and part-time director on the Chilean television series Profugos. In 2012, he released his third feature film, No, a drama based on the unpublished play El Plebiscito about an ad man (Gael García Bernal) in 1980s Chile. The director earned his greatest critical praise yet, with a screening at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and his first Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
The first inklings of mainstream success had finally found the talented director; however, he did not direct another film for nearly three years after No. Instead, he focused his energy on producing. In 2013, he produced three films — the dramedies Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and Gloria, and the romantic comedy Barrio Universitario.
The feature film that followed, The Club (2015), was well worth the wait. The drama, which centers around a group of four disgraced priests and explores the issue of child abuse within the Church, won the Grand Jury Prix at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. In an interview with IndieWire in February 2016, Pablo admitted that he knew it would be a controversial film, particularly in the eyes of the Catholic Church. He said," If you look at a film like Spotlight (2015) or The Club, they both used the press in their own way because it seems that the press, in an indirect and strange way, ends up being one of the few forms of justice."
Of his next film Neruda (2016), which he calls the "anti-biopic," Pablo said he was initially reluctant to make a movie about such a legendary icon of politics and culture. "I didn’t want to make it. I thought it was impossible to make a film about Pablo Neruda." In order to flip the traditional "biopic" on its head, Pablo introduced a fictional secondary protagonist named Óscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal), a police inspector set on finding Neruda during his exile in 1948 after the outlawing of communism. Like all of his previous films, Neruda was a film festival hit, screening at major events like the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It was also the official Chilean entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2017 Oscars.
In 2016, Pablo directed his first non-Chilean, English-language film — the prestigious true-life drama Jackie. Starring Natalie Portman, the film follows First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy through the days following her husband President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963. The script came into Pabo’s hands after meeting director/producer and jury head Darren Aronofsky at an afterparty at the Berlin Film Festival, where The Club had just screened.
"[Darren] asks me to read something. He sends it to me and it turns out to be a script I read five years ago [Jackie]. And I liked it," Pablo told FilmComment.com in 2016. "I read it again and I come to Darren’s office and I ask him, "Man, why do you want a Chilean to do this? You’re crazy." He laughs and says that he thought I could bring a good take on this." The film, along with both Natalie and Pablo's work, has been incredibly well received, with the director winning the Platform Prize at TIFF 2016, and his leading lady earning the Best Actress prize at the Hollywood Film Awards.
Pablo is the co-owner and co-founder of Fabula, a production company that produces most of his film projects. He is married to Chilean actress Antonia Zegers. The couple have two children: Juana (born in 2008) and Pascual (born in 2011).