Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths review – Iñárritu’s outrageously narcissistic existential crisis | Venice film festival 2022


Alejandro González Iñárritu, Oscar-winning creator of films like Amores Perros, Birdman and The Revenant, has now returned to his Mexican homeland for this quasi-autobiographical epic, which spans a personal magical-realistic dreamscape where fact and fiction intertwine. transitioning into ways that are technically stylish and utterly insufferable.

It’s a mind-bogglingly self-indulgent and self-indulgent film—somewhere on a continuum between Fellini and Malick—about a Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker who has been lavishly rewarded in the United States and now receives a major award, usually given only to Americans. (Iñárritu, I suspect, has a somewhat sketchy idea about the working lives of real journalist-slash-documentary filmmakers, as opposed to those of colossal Oscar-winning feature film directors.) But now, in this moment of triumph, our hero is standing. finds himself in a midlife crisis of identity, plunged into a rabbit hole of memories and hallucinatory fears about his family, his career and Mexico itself.

Elegant veteran artist Daniel Gimenéz Cacho plays Silverio, the award-winning filmmaker we see first in LA (a surreal and gripping screenplay to which we will eventually return) and then in his Mexican hometown where he attempts an interview with the US president – an interview the US ambassador offers to organize, on the condition that Silverio gives up his criticism of the White House’s anti-Mexican racism. We even hear a bizarre news story about an attempt by Amazon to completely buy the Mexican state of Baja California as a huge fulfillment center – a pert piece of satire that alerts us that this movie was produced by Netflix and not Amazon.

Silverio is loved and admired by close friends and family, but his journalistic contemporaries have something else in their hearts, revealed in the gigantic party his media comrades throw for him in Mexico City – a kind of awe-inspiring jealousy combined with resentment in the the way he has left them, the Mexican poverty and misery for the gringos to commodities in his films about the experiences of immigrants and the drug trade. A certain resentful ex-colleague, who now hosts a top-rated but horribly rude TV show, tries to get him for an interview, but Silverio fears he will be ambushed with questions about his vulnerable childhood and racist cracks about his native background.

He is especially hated for his wildly successful docu-fictional epic about Mexico entitled A False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, which playfully portrays what the conquistador Hernán Cortés thought and felt in a brutal but whimsically imagined conquest scenario – a scenario that Iñárritu later duly turns into. reintroduced into Silverio’s story, leading to Silverio and Cortés playing equally important roles in this New Mexico myth.

The film is littered with brilliant individual moments: there is a stunning sequence in which the streets are littered with the inert bodies of Mexico’s “missing persons”: the missing people claimed by poverty and crime, heartlessly ignored by the state. And there’s a bravado scene where Silverio comes face to face with his poor old father’s ghost and tries to tell him all the things he should have said when he was alive.

There’s a sharply depicted scene where Silverio, for all his activism, takes his family to a super-rich vacation spot where servants aren’t allowed on the beach — and another when Silverio demands the U.S. immigration officer at LAX that he apologize for acting like a The Mexican citizen with an O-1 visa is not allowed to call America “home”. The latter is where the film seems most intensely autobiographical (but maybe Iñárritu and co-writer Nicolás Giacobone imagined the whole thing).

It’s made with real panache—so much panache, in fact, that you can forgive much of the film’s excessive narcissism. Iñárritu could, if he wished, tell us an equally painful but less grand and automythical story about his own life – but he exercised his prerogative as an artist and gave us this delicacy instead. It is certainly spectacular.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:


More like this