Venice, Iñárritu: “In Bardo an emotional journey in my Mexico”

The director returns to shoot in his hometown more than 20 years after ‘Amores perros’

“When a person leaves his country, from that moment he is chased by some presence. I believe that every country is a state of mind. These are the stories they have told us, which with the passage of time change shape, dissolve, and the interpretation of this absence is the essence of the film ”. Alejandro G. Iñárritu returns to competition in Venice eight years after Birdman and does so with ‘Bardo-Falsa crónica de unas cuantas verdades’, a film that takes him back to his birthplace, Mexico, where he hadn’t filmed since 2000 (Amores perros) .

“Today marks a special anniversary for me and my family as we left Mexico on September 1, 2001 to live in Los Angeles. We thought we were going away for a year and instead 21 years went by: back there to shoot this film I found myself as if in front of a mirror, it was a matter of emotionally reinterpreting a memory ”.

Written by the director together with Nicolás Giacobone, the film – from Netflix, which will bring it to theaters around the world and then host it on the platform from December 16 – is an epic and visually extraordinary immersive experience, set during an intimate and moving journey by Silverio Gama (Daniel Giménez Cacho), a well-known Mexican journalist and documentary maker living in Los Angeles.

The man, after having received a prestigious international recognition, is forced to return to his native country, unaware that this simple journey will push him towards a profound existential crisis. The madness of her memories and his fears manage to pierce the present, filling her days with a sense of bewilderment and amazement.

Between emotions and laughter, Silverio struggles to find answers to universal yet intimate questions regarding his identity, success, the fragility of life, the history of Mexico and the deep emotional bonds he shares with his wife and children. In short, what it means to be human in these very special times.

“Each country has its own stories, we live them and filter them thanks to our experience, our geography, the reality that has been told to us since we are little. And there is a kind of eternal representation of any event. When you leave your country you can start seeing these stories with greater clarity or with greater difficulty. Silverio realizes that everything is fiction, that reality in fact does not exist: water, sand, every element is transformed, everything becomes a state of mind ”, explains Iñárritu.

Who clarifies about the autobiographical aspect of the work: “This film, unlike the others, was made with all my heart even before with my head, there is nothing autobiographical in reality but it is a very strong emotional journey. We can call it autofiction, if we want, since we live in a world of fiction: at my age you realize that reality does not exist, all stories, memory, give meaning to your life, but the events that happen to you always end up reinterpreting them through others elements. Memory does not have truth, but emotions ”.

Shot in 65mm, with Oscar nominee Darius Khondji (Amour, Se7en) for photography, BARDO is also starring Griselda Siciliani, Ximena Lamadrid, Iker Sanchez Solano, Andrés Almeida and Francisco Rubio.

Just as it happened a few years ago with Rome by Alfonso Cuarón – a Netflix film successfully presented in Venice and multiple nominated for the Oscars – BARDO returns to the screen the recovery of the memory of his roots of one of the most successful Mexican directors on an international level (twice Oscars for Birdman and The Revenant): “Netflix has given me absolute freedom, the film will be released in cinemas all over the world and I really appreciate the fact that people can experience it through the cinematic experience, because I believe it deserves to be seen like that. But I remember that when I was a film student I saw the various Bergman, Fellini, Buñuel (“A film is a dream directed by a director”…) on VHS, among other things with a terrible quality. Probably in 10 years we will have invisible screens, what will always survive will be the ideas and, with them, the medium, or the film ”.

The dream in the dream (that flight that opens and closes the film, “is a recurring dream of mine”, says the director), constant limbo (this was originally the title of the film), not being here but not even there, the memory that never has the truth, but only emotions and, underlined in a passage where the protagonist shrinks in front of the figure of the elderly father, who actually died years earlier, “my greatest failure was success”, with the obvious similarities with respect to the character played at the time by Michael Keaton in Birdman.

“Success has a bittersweet taste, it has its price, a cost, it means sacrificing some parts of your life, taking time away from your family”, says the director, who adds: “It can poison, this is something that my father, a man who had had a complicated relationship with success. He had it, but he also lost it. Success for him had two constant, inevitable and present risks: the temptation of pride, which in a certain way intoxicated you, and the inevitable loss of success that leads you to pain. Being successful is therefore a sort of bittersweet condemnation, it also creates expectations for other people and forces you to change priorities “.

A success, however, that the director obtained immediately thanks to the exploit of Amores perros and which allowed him to transform into a “first-class immigrant”, as his son reminds the protagonist of Bardo: “It is undoubtedly so, I do not correspond to the stereotype of those who leave their country because they are forced by events or by the impossibility of a bright future. I went away by my will, by choice, to find new opportunities, new things ”.