Alejandro G. Iñárritu: "Making 'Bardo' has been a catharsis and can be irritating for many people"

After filmmakers such as Alfonso Cuarón, Paolo Sorrentino, Almodóvar or Spielberg himself - The Fabelmans premieres this December - have felt the need to delve into their own past to give it the form of a film, Alejando G.

26 September 2022 Monday 01:07
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Alejandro G. Iñárritu: "Making 'Bardo' has been a catharsis and can be irritating for many people"

After filmmakers such as Alfonso Cuarón, Paolo Sorrentino, Almodóvar or Spielberg himself - The Fabelmans premieres this December - have felt the need to delve into their own past to give it the form of a film, Alejando G. Iñárritu (Mexico City, 1963) He has done the same now with Bardo, a false chronicle of a few truths, his most personal work that ends up in the Perlak section of the San Sebastian Festival, where today it has its official screening at the Victoria Eugenia theatre.

The Mexican director, winner of four Oscars, had not made a film for seven years after The Revenant and with Bardo he takes the viewer by the hand on a journey full of nostalgia, surrealism and comedy in which his alter ego Silverio Gama, a renowned Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker played by a magnificent Daniel Giménez Cacho, goes through various emotional aspects of Iñárritu's life in an exuberant staging in which references to Mexico, paternity, fear, the loss of a child, are not lacking. the violence or the feeling of feeling like a foreigner every time he travels to the United States, a country where he has lived for two decades.

After shaking hands with his interlocutor, an Iñárritu dressed completely in black, sits in the armchair and generously answers the questions of a group of journalists, including La Vanguardia. If in the showing of the film in Venice the spectators saw the 174 minutes that the footage lasts, for San Sebastián the filmmaker has decided to cut 22 minutes. "I finished the film two days before going to Venice and since I was the editor I never had the opportunity to see it with people, friends and collaborators. Certain visual effects put me against the wall and I immediately realized that I could work on the internal rhythm of some scenes. The film is intact, it is the same. What I did was attend and enter with a more daring synthesis capacity to the same themes in a faster way. In fact there is one more scene that was not in Venice and I removed things. Musically I also did some mixes and in the end it ended up thinner and I feel very satisfied because for me a film is not finished until it is taken away from you. It is an indefinite process".

For the director of Babel, making this story has been "a cathartic and necessary process. I think it can even irritate many people. Opening the warehouse is useless, making a film is sometimes useless and dreaming is useless. Nostalgia is a trap. I had the need to put things in order at my age, after spending 21 years outside my country. All that this implies, all the cost of that state of mind and the feeling of displacement have filled many of my reflections, my fears, decisions and questions. I wanted to put all that in order and share with my heart, vulnerability, fragility and risk, because there is a lot of risk when you make a film like this, there are no recipes, my gaze and my uncertainties, which is the substance of this film. It's also been a cathartic process for my family."

That long time away from Mexico has generated a deep nostalgia in Iñárritu. "It's the border where the film is located, that's why it's called Bardo, because it's not just the geographical border where we meet. Even if you come back you can't go back, you find yourself in a situation where identity is fractured, my homeland and my family Like millions of people who live this hybrid culture, there is a feeling of uneasiness that is very difficult to converge if you have not lived it".

The director refers to the airport scene in which an employee tells him that he cannot call the US home when he asks why he is traveling. "It is a literal scene and one that has happened to me many times. I could make a movie of all the things that have happened to me at the border, where the person who denies you entry is of Latino origin. Integration often requires disintegration in order to reinvent yourself". And he adds: "We have experienced millions of complex things and it is not a complaint, it is part of that disintegration-integration where a piece of paper can take away your identity and tell you that you are nothing and nobody, bastard."

While the Venice critics, who have not been very positive about the film, linked Bardo as Fellini's 8 y medio, Iñárritu has preferred to refer to writers such as Borges or Cortázar. "There is a lot of ignorance, especially Anglo-Saxon. No one in Los Angeles has spoken to me about Octavio Paz, no one knows him. They speak to me about the gardener...what I want to say is that we have our own culture with a very powerful, ancient imaginary , and literature, since García Márquez, has influenced me a lot".

"In order to use that imaginary of time, of narratives, from Amores perro or 21 grams, we have a way of seeing things. The musical reference is not from Nino Rota, as they have said, but from Mexican bands from Guajaca. Nor can I ask that all people see all the readings of the film, because it belongs to me and to my country. Fellini is one of the great film directors, but there is more of Buñuel in Bardo than of Fellini. And it is good that the People react against a movie, but when they talk about it and if there is a movie that everyone likes, it is very suspicious. Indifference for me is the worst punishment."

Most of the film is shot in wide angle, a technique that the director likes "to wrap the character in the context of the city. I didn't want to reaffirm the conventions but to break them. I found it interesting to go from the intimate to the epic and that all the time Silverio's objects, his apartment and the city surrounded him". Bardo, a Netflix production, will hit theaters on November 4 and will be available on the platform from December 16.



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