MVFF: Biutiful (A)

Mexican-born Alejandro González Iñárritu is clearly one of the best directors, worldwide. Consider Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel. His new film, Biutiful is his first film in four years and may be his best yet. It is stunning in every way. If you ever doubted the acting skill of Javier Bardem, this will put an end to you concerns. He’s terrific, as is everyone else in the film. The cinematography, sound and editing are also near perfect. Iñárritu was here for a long Q&A session, during which he accurately described Biutiful as a visual poem. It’s about a relatively regular man who is put into situations that require him to be (or at least try to be) quite heroic. Not in the big-hero kind of way, but just how he tries to save or rescue others in his life. The film takes place in a gritty area of Barcelona that tourists and even the natives rarely see, and this sets the stage for the moral and ethical challenges Bardem’s character must face. I’m writing this review about half-way through the Mill Valley Film Festival, and this is the one film so far that I think you should go out of your way to see.

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