At 8:45 pm Mountain Time, the Werner Herzog Theater looked half full with seated spectators for the North American premiere of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest film, “Bardo (or the false chronicle of a handful of truths)” in the Telluride Film Festival. Perhaps it was the 174-minute running time after a long day of screenings that kept viewers at bay. However, just before midnight, there was a round of applause as the credits rolled. Though it’s unclear what exactly everyone was applauding, perhaps themselves for surviving this incoherent play of cinematic overindulgence.
After debuting in Venice, where the Oscar contender was slammed by critics, Netflix’s awards pony was seeking a comeback in the United States to at least raise its Rotten Tomatoes score, which currently sits in the top 50. low. Those numbers are likely to remain depressed.
To be blunt, Inarritu probably doesn’t need to clean up his schedule this awards season. It would be hard to imagine that “Bardo” would have the skills to represent Mexico in the international feature film category, let alone make it to the shortlist. But it is not clear what else he would be selected to represent the country.
How disappointing. The semi-autobiographical film, which follows a documentarian who returns home to face a series of existential crises, marks Iñárritu’s first outing after winning two consecutive Best Director Oscars, for “Birdman” (2014) and “The Revenant.” (2015). . Expectations were high for the author’s big comeback.
Iñárritu has always been an excellent visual storyteller, so recruiting the great Darius Khondji to shoot the film is well worth it. Along with production design and sound, these are three places where the film could find traction from the Academy. In addition to being the director, writer and producer of “Bardo”, Iñárritu is also the film’s composer; the score is my favorite technical element of meditative drama. If you qualify, it will be interesting if the branch of music will give you a good opportunity in that space. Anything beyond that seems pretty unlikely.
If Oscar-nominated artists were based on their phone’s step counter, then lead actor Daniel Jiménez Cacho would be a favorite. Otherwise, your endless walks through deserts and mountains of corpses will not attract the attention of the prizes.
“Bardo” will have its defenders. They will argue that the critics are wrong and either not smart enough to understand it or too culturally inept to understand the profound point Iñárritu is making. To tell the truth, I’m not sure even Iñárritu knew what he was looking for here.
“Bardo” bills itself as his most personal film: Iñárritu’s “8 ½”, the kind of film in which he wrestles with all the demons and influences that made him such a great filmmaker. The problem is that the fight takes place for two excruciating hours and 20 minutes. Iñárritu obviously needed to work on something personally, which is to be admired as all expressed art leaves someone vulnerable. But most people won’t be too interested in following the journey.
An important note to keep in mind when discussing the film’s Oscar chances is when looking at Iñárritu’s six previous films as director: “Amores Perros” (2000), “21 Grams” (2003), “Babel” (2006), “Biutiful” (2010). ), “Birdman” (2014) and “The Revenant” (2015), none of them have been completely out of the race for the Oscars. It would be smart to expect “Bardo” in at least one place.
False or not, this is a chronicle of a handful of truths that they would rather skip over.
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