Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu on ‘Biutiful’

His latest Javier Bardem starring film

Multiple Oscar nominee Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Babel, Amores Perros) takes a fresh direction with his new film, ‘Biutiful’.

The first Mexican to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first three features all focused upon a series of intricately crafted interconnected stories and characters. His new film Biutiful, which earned Oscar nominations for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor for its lead Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men), is a comparatively streamlined affair. It follows the final months in the life of Uxbal, a single father connected to the criminal underbelly of Barcelona. Acutely aware of his terminal illness, Uxbal attempts to reconcile the disparate elements of his life which include preparing his young children for life without him and dealing with the erratic behaviour of their estranged, bi-polar mother.

While González Iñárritu’s other films focused on parallel narratives, Uxbal is the central figure who links Biutiful’s multi-cultural demographic with Bardem’s “incredible features” appearing in almost every scene. The director shrugs off the apparent change of style as the tool that conveys the story in the most suitable manner, adding, “Uxbal’s basically a very ordinary man, but I was struck by the multiple circumstances and people around him and they multiplied the possibilities of navigating through his life. I like to at least scratch and explore some of those lines and how they’re affecting him.”

Unlike the tourist image of the city, Biutiful’s Barcelona is a grimy hotchpotch of borderline poverty and barely integrated immigrant communities. It’s a parable that the director believes can be extended to any major European city. “We’re all Uxbal and the system that we’re living in – capitalism, the money markets and all those things – is taking away our nature and our sense of intuition and emotion. It’s getting into a crazy ride of selfish survival. Everything is collapsing with that.”

Firmly based at the cerebral end of the filmmaking spectrum, González Iñárritu’s evident intellect isn’t without a sense of humour. “You might think our justification is to get drunk with our pals and that’s it!” he laughs when discussing the relative value of the film world’s awards season. He concurs that perhaps the biggest value of such accolades is their ability to bring his work to a wider audience: “Honestly, a film will never be better or worse without a nomination for an Oscar or a BAFTA or whatever. We have to have perspective over those

Words by Ben Hopkins

CERT: 15

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