Alejandro González Iñárritu is always accused that his ego ends up imposing himself on his films. That in all of them there is a clear will to be above his stories. He is more interested in being seen than what really counts. happened to him in Birdman (2014), where the irony about the film industry was covered by its virtuoso sequence shot; and of course it happened the reborn (2015), where the accumulation of misfortunes —another of his hallmarks— were shot with a pretended poetry that seemed to imitate Terrence Malick (not by chance he resorted to his own director of photography).
It is clear that his style works, with both films he won the Oscar for Best Direction. Since then he had not directed again. His Return came with the label of being his most personal and autobiographical film. The few images that had been seen so far, including his poster, made it clear. No one could know if the one who appeared there was himself or the protagonist of it, an immense Daniel Giménez Cacho who is the best thing about the film. There was, therefore, curiosity to know if to talk about himself he returned to the more austere and dry cinema of his beginnings, like Amores perro, or continued to be involved in his technical exhibitionism. The answer was given at the Venice Film Festival, where it became clear that not only has the director not been modest in the slightest, but he has multiplied his style to the point of paroxysm, to the point of turning it almost into a parody.
Bardo, a false chronicle of a few truths —which will be released in theaters and later on Netflix—, is an exercise in egomania so excessive that instead of moving it produces rejection. The director wants to make his own 8 1/2, and mixes the oneiric —to which he ends up giving an unnecessary justification at the last moment— with the narrative to speak through a character / trompe l'oeil about himself. The protagonist, Silverio, is a journalist and documentary filmmaker who becomes the first Mexican to win an award in Los Angeles (does that sound familiar?). In addition, he lives with the trauma of the death of a son shortly after birth —the same tragedy that happened to Iñárritu—, and he also suffers from the burden of conscience of having left his country and gone to the United States, where he is treated like an immigrant. , although on the other hand he does not want to return due to the insecurity of the country. Come on, the real story of the Mexican director, who even stood up at the press conference and had the audacity to say that it was not an autobiographical film and that it was an "emography", a word that should be coined by Mr. Wonderful from this very moment. moment.
There is a very interesting film in Bardo, the one that talks about that guilty conscience, that duality of loving your country and not wanting to live in it. To say the bad when you're in and the good when you're out. Point out the racism of the USA despite having lived for 20 years. Living in a country that invaded you and sees you as foreigners and criminals. They are interesting topics that he knows first-hand, but that end up lost because of his excessive ambition.
An ambition that is in the narrative and that is enhanced in the visual. Iñárritu decides that talking about his history was not enough, so it is also necessary to talk about the conquest of America, raising a ridiculous face to face with Hernán Cortés; the US invasion, displaying a scene of a military battle; and even of the disappeared from his country, at a time that seems like a performance designed by Ai Weiwei to be a trending topic and the stuff of stories. He puts his story on a par with the history of his country, and wraps it all up in allegedly poetic images. Some of them work and are powerful, like that start by jumping through the desert or a train full of water. Others are ridiculous. The reunion with his dead father (of course there are daddy issues) is told with the body of a child and the head of Giménez Cacho in an exercise that Valerie Lemercier already did in Aline; and the 'farewell' of his dead son is staged with a resource that seems to be taken from an Anne Geddes calendar; that photograph that turned babies into cabbages. The difference is that Iñárritu takes himself seriously. All the time.
There are very long sequence shots, beautiful photography, colossal scenes, and everything wants to be so overwhelming that it tires. Instead of getting excited, you just wait for his next visual idea with which he wants to shock the viewer. That makes the movie feel insincere. Yes, there was honesty in the bourgeois charge of conscience of his friend Cuarón, but here everything is buried. It's a shame, because there is no doubt that Iñárritu has a visual talent that needs someone to put a brake on it and tie it short.
The director's ego is also clear when one looks at his portrayal of the women in the film. They don't care. There is his wife (Griselda Siciliani), the woman who lost her son and in whose suffering she does not stop for a second. She only supports and accompanies her, but she never stops to develop her, to listen to her or for her to tell what happened to her. Bardo is a film that will divide and that will arouse as many passions as hatreds, as usually happens with the work of the Mexican director, who has lost a unique opportunity to deliver his most personal and intimate work.