‘Burning Patience’ (Ardiente Paciencia) follows a young man named Mario Jiménez who befriends the famous poet Pablo Neruda while delivering letters to him in 1969 Chile. After falling in love with a woman, he uses Neruda’s works to win her over. The film is an adaptation of the eponymous 1985 novel by Antonio Skármeta. It is now streaming on Netflix.
‘Burning Patience’ starts in June 1969 in the village of Isla Negra, on the coast of Chile. Mario Jiménez, a shy young man, gives up his family profession, fishing, and becomes the local postman.
Mario has to deliver posts to the famous poet Pablo Neruda who lives as a recluse nearby. Mario is enchanted after his first meeting with Neruda and buys a copy of one of his books.
Eventually, the young postman becomes a good friend of Neruda’s, and his passion for poetry grows. The poet even teaches the importance of metaphors to Mario.
Meanwhile, in the village, a new hotel opens up, and Mario falls for the owner’s daughter, Beatriz González. He often runs into her but struggles to find the words to express his feelings.
He seeks Neruda’s help while delivering a telegram. The poet discovers that he is expected to run for Chile’s presidency. He presents Mario with a couple of his books to help him with his love story and leaves to campaign across the country.
He even leaves him a key to his house for the mail. Mario begins to court Beatriz, and things seem to be going well until a small mistake from him leaves her heartbroken.
Does he manage to win her back? Does Mario convince Beatriz’s mother about his honest intentions?
Andrew Bargsted as Mario is the heart of the film. His performance is innocent and charming, and he plays the lovelorn postman with impeccable ease. It is pleasant to witness Mario gradually shed his timid personality and become more confident with the help of poetry.
Vivianne Dietz plays Beatriz and also gives a breezy performance. She matches Bargsted in all the scenes they share, and their chemistry is spectacular.
Claudio Arredondo as the legendary poet Pablo Neruda is a delightful part of the plot. It is surreal to witness such an iconic figure come to life. Arredondo does not have many scenes in the film but comes across as wise and assertive when he is present.
He also shows a lot of control in his performance. It is great to see him play Neruda as the friendly next-door old man who is always nice to everyone.
Burning Patience is an artistic piece of cinema that gets its technicalities spot on. The costumes, sets, locations, and cinematography combine perfectly to create a vintage ’60s aesthetic that is blissfully immersive.
The love story is driven by poetry and letters which is a nice change in this age of social media. The setting aids the viewing experience for sure. Even though the story is simple, director Rodrigo Sepúlveda adds an expressive flare to it with the poems and their explanation.
Due to this, Neruda’s poems feel like individual characters, gradually guiding the life of two people who are equally in love with the art of poetry and each other.
On the not-so-good side of things, Burning Patience suffers from inconsistent pacing. Given the 90-minute runtime, some moments are rushed through, whereas some not-so-important ones feel dragged out.
Mario and Pablo’s relationship is a key element of the narrative, but it isn’t explored as well as it should have been. This leaves a lot to be desired. The editing is a little drastic and scenes sometimes end or begin unexpectedly.
Furthermore, despite its tasteful aesthetic, the film sometimes feels like going through a book. There are a few important scenes that could have used a heightened cinematic touch to make them more appealing.
Despite minor pitfalls, Burning Patience is a wonderfully crafted film that deserves a watch. It will check all the boxes for fans of romance, literature, and vintage aesthetics.
Director: Rodrigo Sepúlveda
Date Created: 2022-12-07 23:29