A polarizing figure, that Alejandro González Iñárritu. To some — Academy voters — he’s a pioneering titan of the modern cinema, constructing maximalist meditations on heavy existential matters like mortality and the utility of art. To others — film critics — he’s a self-important gasbag with an inflated sense of his own skill, substituting conspicuous elements of style for control of tone and rigor of ideas. Soon, these warring factions will get the chance to duke it out once again. For begun, the Iñárritu Wars have.
Netflix sent out an eye-catching press release this afternoon, announcing that they have secured global rights to the upcoming BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths. The word-salad title harkening back to the mouthful of Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance might suggest he’s continuing onward in that Hollywood vein, but in actuality, he’s going all the way back to his roots.
The new film, his first since 2015’s The Revenant, will return the director to his home of Mexico — last seen in his filmography with Amores Perros in 2000. Described in the bulletin as “a nostalgic comedy set against an epic personal journey,” the film follows an acclaimed Mexican documentarian and journalist who also has a homecoming in the country he’s been away from for so long, which triggers a personal crisis of identity, family, and memory.
Aside from the involvement of master cinematographer Darius Khondji, there aren’t many big names comparable to past stars Leonardo DiCaprio or Michael Keaton in the mix this time around. Leading actors Daniel Giménez Cacho and Griselda Siciliani are known throughout the Spanish-speaking world, but little recognition elsewhere, and their casting hints at a Roma-style eschewing of starpower for lived-in naturalism.
With shooting on track to warp by fall, Netflix will give Iñárritu’s newest a global release in theaters next year before bringing the title online to their streaming library. Late in 2023, batten down the hatches and prepare for a fresh round of discourse, whatever shape it may take.
Published 27 Apr 2022
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