Bard: Creative Authenticity | Article

By Hector Tajonar

At the height of success Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu He decided to make a film in Mexico, in Spanish, to express his experience of the transience, pleasures and misadventures caused by that achievement that is not usually forgiven in this country. With a unique mix of self-critical passion and overflowing imagination, the author has captured on screen a vision of himself and his surroundings through visual metaphors as amazing as they are sincere, arising from defining experiences in his personal and professional life., mixed with ideas and perceptions about the past and present of their native country in the context of their migration to the United States.

González Iñárritu has taken on this monumental narrative challenge with courage and rigor. The complex amalgam of themes and styles is embroidered around the character of Silverio Rangethe author’s alter ego, masterfully performed by Daniel Jimenez Cacho, in order to provide coherence to the dramatic structure of the filmed self-portrait. Behind an apparent allegorical chaos there is a conceptual rigor resolved in a script ordered by clearly defined sequences that took him five years to write.

The bard, the poet, of the national cinematography expressed in images his own experience, real and imaginary, of the state of transition between life and death -or between death and reincarnation-, also called bard in Tibetan Buddhism. The double meaning of the concept that gives its title to the seventh feature film by the award-winning Mexican filmmaker defines from the outset the artistic dimension in which he places his work. He describes it as autofiction. With a background of 35 years in psychoanalytic therapy and 10 years of practicing meditation, the director is well prepared for introspection.

Bard it is an existential work built from the inner gaze. Perhaps its greatest merit is authenticity, the supreme value of existentialist ethics and an indispensable ingredient of good art. The originality of the visualized lucubration has given rise to opposing opinions. It is natural, self-analysis without concessions not only allows but demands diverse readings. The director’s unusual confession is one of foolproof creative honesty. González Iñárritu’s audacity is exposed in all its nakedness to the implacable judgments of critics, as well as to the empathy or rejection of moviegoers. De gustibus non est diputandum.

Despite the fact that the tone of the film is ruled by excess, it is not of a narcissistic swelling but of a lyrical reflection. The filmmaker shares his personal and artistic doubts with an open and unusual self-critical attitude. The dialogue on the roof with his former colleague and friend from television is particularly revealing, as is the interview he dreamed of, but did not take place, with the star host of the program “Let’s suppose.” With humor and sarcasm, the director reveals some vulnerable aspects of his professional biography.

The dazzling sequence shots on television and in the California Dancing Club they confirm the mastery of the cinematographic language to achieve a fantastic dynamism through the perfect coordination between the movement of the camera and the actors. The tremendous celebration party and the ecstatic dance by Jiménez Cacho are memorable. The moving meeting of the protagonist and his father in the living room bathroom confirms the central place of that relationship in the filmmaker’s life. Let’s remember that Beautiful, that chilling ode to fatherhood in the midst of the greatest adversity and sleaze, is dedicated to his father.

The oneiric reminiscence of the most painful episode in the author’s life is of an exceptional dramatic veracity, perhaps unprecedented; proportional to the unnamed pain, contrary to nature, that human beings experience when faced with the death of a child. He is not an orphan or a widower, before that inexplicable sadness, all that remains is to say that the baby considered that the world is shit and preferred to return to the homeostasis of the womb. One of the scenes referred me to the painting of Frida Kahlo entitled My Birth, in which the artist’s adult face appears emerging from her mother’s womb, whose face is covered by a sheet; there is no one else in the room except a picture of the Virgin of Sorrows. Both artists use the self-portrait with similar intensity. The emotion becomes sublime in the scene in which Mateo joins the unfathomable immensity of the ocean.

In addition to the metaphorical revelation of family and professional privacy, Bardo he also makes a symbolic interpretation of Mexican history and politics. The drug lord scene is a faithful portrait of a militarized regime that has refused to fight organized crime and drug corruption. The sequence filmed in the Historic Center of Mexico City represents the tragedy of femicides in the country through an impeccable staging. The protagonist sees a woman fall in front of the church of La Profesa, walks towards the corner of Isabel la Católica and Madero where the massive and simultaneous death of thousands of women occurs until forming an impressive carpet of victims that is lost on the horizon.

range reaches the Plinth under the light of sunset and climbs a pyramid of corpses until he finds and talks with Hernan Cortes. Neither the production boast nor the quote from Octavio Paz they are enough to hide the simplification of the most complex and controversial event in the nation’s history. Although the historical myth of the Children Heroes lends itself to parody, the farcical sequence filmed in the Castle chapultepec not convincing either.


Silverio’s unfolding for his encounter with death (the Buddhist bard) has moments of great visual beauty and dramatic intensity. The structure of the film is circular, it begins and ends with an aerial panorama in a desert landscape in which the shadow of the migrant protagonist is projected, inspired by 81/2 of Fellini.

Alejandro González Iñárritu has made the auteur cinema that he wanted and needed to make. His well-deserved success, the international recognition of his work is thus transformed into the personal triumph of an artist who has dared to express with total authenticity the examination of his being and his being in the world.

Bard: Creative Authenticity | Article