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Interview with Javier Bardem and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu/ "Biutiful" at Cannes 2010

Javier Bardem and Alejandro Gonzelez Inarritu/ "Biutiful" at Cannes 2010


Move over Jeff Bridges, here comes Javier Bardem's jaw dropping performance as a father/husband, who is involved in a life of corruption and dis-ease, is diagnosed with cancer and given a limited time to get his affairs in order, yet continues to demonstrate strength as he continues on with his responsibilities of daily life. From the director of "Babel', and "Amores Perros", "Biutiful", offers terrific acting, cinematography, and music in a noir drama, about the realistic, depressing side of life.


 Q:  To Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu: How was it writing and directing your first screenplay?


 A: AGI: "In my past experiences, my writing process has been very successful. It was a very creative, fresh, collaborative process. "



Q: To Javier Bardem:  How was it working with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu?


A: JB: "Like the movie, intense, but very rewarding in the sense, of going to places where an actor has to grow up. Alejandro is one of the best director's of all time, and as a performer, you know you will always be protected by him.  He knows how to take very good care of the subtleties of the performance.  So, I knew from the first time behind the camera, I knew that all the actors knew what they were doing here.



Q: To Alejandro Gonazelez Inarritu:


"In ‘Babel', you go to many places and tell many stories within many different cultures,  whereas, in "Biutiful", you choose one city, one main character and one culture.  What happened?


 A: AGI: " I was exhausted after globetrotting around the world, I promised myself that I would be doing one guy, one point of view, one neighborhood, and no more Japanese, Moroccan, English, I wanted my own language.   I did it. It was not easier than the other film. It was a difficult process, and a heavy film, but it was an amazing exercise for me.  I want to go into the linear, the rigor and the discipline that a linear story tells.   It was another chapter for me.  "Biutiful" was everything I haven't done before in a way, but in a strange way it is exactly the same, same things that upset me, same shadow that I project. I think the difference here is that before I told very complex stories, while in "Biutiful", there is a very simple storyline.  Trying to capture a very simple way of telling a very complicated story."



Q: To Javier Bardem:  How did you prepare to play Uxbal?


A:  JB: "In my opinion, this movie is different for everyone, everyone has a very different opinion about it. My proposal as an actor was to really do the portrait of somebody that is surrounded by exploitation and corruption.  Everybody in this movie has a relation with exploitation and corruption, and how that creates disease in society, and within himself.  I guess for a person who is really driven by that need of trying to survive in that world.  What I wanted to do, was to portray somebody who doesn't want to lose their last breath of health. Before he dies, he has to put himself together and heal himself, by life, by having compassion., towards his kids, his wife, towards his brother, towards the immigrants. But the circumstances in the outside world are against them.  He had one need, but the world has something else in store for you. So that's probably what it means to portray him, and of course that idea came from hope."


A: AGI: "When the script was in an early stage, my theory was less is more. With dialogue, I thought less is more. Sometimes films are made where you understand everything immediately, that same moment you are watching the film, and you never ask. In this film, there is an incompletion, in order for people to feel for Uxbal, and by taking out and just holding things, emotional things.  Javier is an actor, one of the greatest actors where minimal things mean a lot. The understanding of these events requires a lot of talent, precision, commitment to excellence, trusting the material, trusting the audience.  At the same time, the complexity of this character is what since the beginning the fact that there are several lines that he might lose, a map that guides him. One line that goes inside, into the spirit of life to find the question of death bothers him, to put thing in order. That clash of warm and cold water simultaneously, is very complicated role to play. It was a very demanding role. I never saw somebody with so much investment in a character."


Q:  Talk about the darkness, yet flashes of hope within the film.


A:  AGI: "The film is full of flashes of hope. Even in the Greek tradition of tragedy, there is a character that is trying to survive, to do things better.  He is trying to navigate against the will of God.  I think the guy is full of life, he gives himself, trying to put his life together by helping people, by helping the people that brings love to his children. He is a very humble man, a very simple man, and life is like that. Everything that he inspired to was very loving, and there's a lot of forgiveness. Which I think is a key word to what we are missing in this world, because I think that the big disease is not AIDS, not anthrax or terrorism, but the illness that is killing us is hate.  He represented the opposite. Uxbal represented tenderness, compassion, and forgiveness, to himself first, and to everybody.  I think I found that very hopeful in my view of it.  There are questions at the end that everybody will have to answer.  I found that this is the most hopeful of all my films by far. "


Q; To AGI: Talk about the cinematography.


 A: AGI: "The camera was used to enhance the journey and the point of view of the characters, to help the audience to navigate to the emotional source. All the elements were supporting that. Javier and I envisioned this character as a tight, control freak, a person which is shaking and vulnerable. Little by little, once he began to learn about what will happen, he began to learn to give up the control, to arrive to another level of understanding.  In the last twenty minutes of the film, you are in an apartment, there is no way out. It is quiet, silent.  His camera, format, lighting wise, everything, this is probably Rodrigo Prieto's best work by far. We are very proud of his work."


 A: JB: "The goal for any actor is to work with people that inspire you. In Latin America, they have amazing directors, and AGI is one of them."

Sharon Abella

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