Movies are a special medium. It allows us to enter a world of imagination. A world where we can see the unimaginable. A dream truly come to life right before our very eyes. It can serve as an escape from the real world, while at the same time, teach us everything about our own reality. Life and its meaning, has always been a mystery. Our time being alive is chaotic, beautiful and random. The only thing that makes sense is that nothing makes sense. No one truly knows what they are doing fully. That is the real wake up call. All we can do is our best and affect the lives around us in a positive manner. There will always be grand achievements, soul defeating losses and everything in-between. We face many adversities in life that we must push through. We, without trying, connect with so many people in our lifetime. Leaving a footprint in their lives and let that little footprint extend and spread. You change the world no matter what. There are a few movies that really capture that. When it comes to the new movie Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, we get that very thing. We follow a very personal story of Silverio (Daniel Giménez Cacho). We see a dream like story about his triumphs, inner mind and relationships. We see how he tries to find who he is and how he remembers his life. A beautifully haunting movie that had me in tears towards the end. Bardo is one of the greatest cinematic achievements of the decade. Shot in 65mm film, the movie feels unreal and with Iñárritu behind the camera, the movie plays larger than life.
I want to talk about this director and his style. It is the very first thing you notice from the very start of the movie. Without any dialogue, in the opening sequence, Bardo already won me over with how cinematic the shots looked. His goal is to never lose the attention of the audience and his story telling and imagination is what grasped me in a chokehold. From beginning to end, the movie looks perfectly executed. He is someone who chooses obscure camera angles to his benefit. The symmetry of each frame can be paused and used as an art piece. The set design is breathtakingly gorgeous and he uses the environment to his advantage. With a lot of lower angle shots and a wide angle view, we see the world larger than it normally is perceived. Such as a child seeing everything around them so much bigger than they are. This is indeed a large movie in scale. It shoots for a very creative take of how we see memories and how our own minds can work. There are super long shots with no cuts exploring Silverio’s life. We are a passenger with him in his journey. We get every emotional aspect of how he feels in very situation. We hear his thoughts out loud at times verbally and physically. This is by far one of the most imaginative movies ever made. I haven’t seen a movie this imaginative about life since Tim Burton’s Big Fish. Iñárritu creates a world where we can see this character’s life clearly. I’m other scenes his life doesn’t make sense at times. Actually a lot of the obscure imagery often doesn’t make sense, but in a weird way it does. This is how our mind really perceives the life we live. It’s and open book about life. It shows how things aren’t always straight forward and I admired this message.
I got very emotionally attached to this movie and this character. There is a lot that I want to talk about, but will leave some things ambiguous, to not spoil the movie. In Bardo, we get many sequences showing Silverio’s moments of his life. Some are his intimacy with his family, insights on his career, who he is as a person and even a deep dive into how he reflects on all of those things. With a long runtime of 2 hours and 39 minutes, we get to really discover a lot about this character. There hasn’t been a movie this year or even in the last 5 years, with this amount of character development. I was instantly invested in his character from the start. We see his suffering, his prestigious career, his relationship with family and so much more. Although the movie feels long, there is never anything uninteresting on screen. Even the parts that wasn’t about his life held tremendous value. You can tell the director really cares about Mexico and filmed the entire movie there on purpose. Where we come from, truly help shape the people we are today. The dialogue is rich and there are some poetic lines that are a complete home run. Life lessons at every corner and really just shows the human life as it is, unpredictable.
A reflection on our own life is not only important, but crucial. It allows us all to grow to become the best version of ourselves. No one in the world is perfect and perfect will never exist. The world is not perfect and it never will be. I always like to say that there is always a way we can see our lives in a positive manner. No matter what, there will always be something to have pride in or gratitude for. Bardo shows that in Silverio’s life. Even when life is going well, it is normal for people to still feel sad or maybe have imposter syndrome. That we don’t deserve the things we have. The movie explores all these themes without holding back. I never felt a story so human. It shares so many experiences and realities that everyone who watches it will connect with it in some level. If notX they will at least take away an important aspect from the movie. A movie so complex, but also straight to the point. There is so much to digest from the metaphors, symbolism, social commentary and still take it at face value. Life is ongoing and has a lot in store for us. The good and the bad. We survive everyday and push for the life we want to live. At the same time, it’s good to live in the moment and cherish everything. To look back at the incredible growth and journey people go on. Overall this is one of my favorite movies ever made and is in my personal top list. Definitely check this one out. Now streaming on Netflix. It should be a no brainer! See it as soon as you can. It is perfect!
Written By: Frederick Nuti
The statement below was made by the director at a film festival, introducing the movie.
“A few years ago, I suddenly realized the road ahead of me was much shorter than the one I had left behind. Inevitably, I started to explore it backwards and inwards. Both paths are elusive and labyrinthine. Time and space enmesh. The narrative that makes up 'our life' is no more than a false mirage constructed of events experienced subjectively by our limited nervous system. Memory lacks truth. It only possesses emotional conviction. It is the truth in that emotion that I set out to search for in the enormous drawer of chimeras I have been carrying. I must warn you beforehand: I have found no absolute truths. Only a journey between reality and imagination. A dream. Dreams, as cinema, are real but not truthful. In both, time is liquid. BARDO is the chronicle of that journey between those two illusions whose borders are indecipherable.” - Alejandro G. Iñárritu