Chile: A Love Story, at first glance, is a story about a boy meeting a girl in South America. It’s more than that. It could very well be the end of the relationship. You see, Paola lives in Chile and Neal lives in the United States. Maintaining a long distance relationship is tough and they’ve decided to give it one last shot.
When I asked Neal Barenblat, what I ask everyone on this site, why did you create this video? He said, “What I want is to go back to where it all started. This video is to remember everything, or, if we choose to, forget it all.”
Neal is heading back to Chile, for the third time, to see if they can make it work. While he’s there, he will be working at a post-production house called feels.tv. “My family is not crazy about this decision. Everyone who knows us is concerned about what we’re doing with our lives. It’s a confusing decision. It doesn’t make a lot of logical sense.”
I spoke with Neal about his latest project Chile: A Love Story, as well as the other videos and music projects inspired by his relationship with Paola.
Hang in there everybody, Creative Babble is going romantic with this one.
Neal Barenblat - Chile: A Love Story
How did you meet Paola?
I met Paola in the jungles of Ecuador. We had a connection that broke language barriers. It’s crazy because my Spanish, at the time, was not that good and her English was worse than my Spanish.
Nothing happened between us, because she was in a relationship with somebody for seven years. After Ecuador, we went our separate ways.
When I made my way down to Chile, I met her again in a park. She told me this could never work. She’s explained that she’s with someone whom she loves.
Ecuador - A video when Neal first met Paola
Despite this declaration, Neal and Paola continued to see each other. They spent the next few days together until it was time for Neal return home to the United States.
This story should end here, but it doesn’t. About a year later, Neal returns to Chile. They reunite, except this time, it was different. This time, Paola was single and they were free to be with each other.
Here’s where Chile: A Love Story begins. Neal created this video to remember the memories that were beginning to blur away.
You can tell you’re watching something special when you get to the scene of Paola going underwater.
I’m so happy with that edit. All of this was unintentional. I just let the GoPro roll. I didn’t have a screen on it, so I had no idea what I was shooting.
I started putting some things together and then it started to make sense. When I was loading the footage in, I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. In fact, I didn’t think it was any good. It was GoPro footage not used how a GoPro is typically used. I didn’t agree with the footage until the story happened.
In the video, there is a big street party. What’s going on?
That was a festival in La Plaza de Yungay. It was awesome. When we got there, there were artisans all around and people getting food. As dusk came, they had a bunch of marching bands playing traditional latin music. The best part were the cheers. The people started jumping up and down chanting. It was not a riot. It was a happy festival.
How did you come up with the script?
At the time, in my head, I was trying to remember every detail about her. It was going to be my own words. However, I went to this really cool bookstore and spotted a Pablo Neruda book with a 100 sonnets.
While editing this video, I started flipping through the book of poetry. Pablo Neruda was from Chile. This is a video about Chile. It was perfect. I went through a 100 sonnets and started rearranging lines with what I thought was the story. That’s how I made this script.
How did Paola react to this video?
When I showed it to her, I wanted a presentation other than, “Here’s a link, sweetie.” I texted one of her friends, “I’m going to send you a video for Paola’s birthday party tonight. When the clock strikes midnight, please show it to her.” I got a text from him that evening saying that she held back the tears.
You also created a whole album, NINO, based on your experience down there. Paola inspired some of the songs, right?
She inspired all of them. The album was about South America, but the backbone was a love story. Paolson, is a song about the first time we said good-bye. That night, I got on a bus and ended up staying at a wooden hostel for a few days. I remember sitting up in my little cottage room playing my Venezuelan cuatro. I looked out the window and played this song two or three times. The third time, I recorded it. I named it Paolson.
How did she react to the album?
She was taken back at first. She was still dating that guy at the time. We were going to stop talking for good. I didn’t write this album to win her back. It didn’t have any motives.
My biggest fear was that she wouldn’t listen to it. I just wanted her to hear it because it had so much to do with her.
Now, we’re together and she loves it and thinks it’s very sweet. Paola has been to some of my best NINO shows. She was popular when she was here.
You’re both fighting to keep this relationship alive.
We’re ready for some normalcy. All we want right now, which is what no other couple wants, is to be in the same place and go to work and be slightly bored.
So, what happens next? We will soon find out. The next three months will prove whether Neal and Paola will continue to create memories or if it’s time to forget. In the meantime, you can follow Neal’s adventure on his Vimeo page.
Let me remind you of how you were in the last autumn.
Gift of the Earth.
What a long way to arrive at a kiss.
What a hectic loneliness to achieve your company.
Diving between the trees
Orchestral and divine.
Where are you?
Ah, your mysterious voice.
To think that you and I
divided by trains and nations
My entangled one.
Those violent rivers
with waters and threats.
World full of salt and sun.
Sword in the sand.
I travel your little infinity.
Your laughter shatters the tree of life.
Let’s go. Let’s go, get up, and rise
and go down and run
and thrill through the air and with me
Your feminine estuary
Wide like the Mississippi
With you I wonder and I love.
We had only to love one another
with all the confusions
with the earth that
makes carnations rise and bloom
And now, my love,
Let’s go back to that distant spring
Our kisses will return
To whence they came from.
That’s how it was
This is how it is
And that’s how it will be
singing to the day
and to the moon
to the sea and to me
throbs like a river.
River that also sing.