bardo, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, documents one man’s cultural rediscovery as he leaves Los Angeles and returns to Mexico. After receiving a prestigious award for his work in journalism and documentary filmmaking, Silverio (Daniel Giménez Cacho) is suddenly forced to re-examine his Mexican roots. Upon arrival, he faces embarrassing memories from the past and an existential crisis.
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González Iñárritu started to really think about the nature of immigration and belonging when he created Carne y Arena, a virtual reality installation that gave him the opportunity to talk to over 500 immigrants crossing the border. . “There was a very, very deep calling of nature to be an immigrant,” he said Saturday at Deadline’s The Contenders Film: Los Angeles event. “What we share in common is this nostalgia, this melancholy – all these things that you lose when you leave your country.”
Silverio is a stand-in for González Iñárritu throughout the story, so the director had to find the perfect fit. “He found so many coincidences between us,” said Giménez Cacho. “Once that was set for me, it was really easy because I didn’t have to build or construct a character. Although this is a personal story of Alejandro, it has become a very personal story of me.
Ximena Lamadrid, who plays Silverio’s daughter, Camila, immediately found parallels to her own life. “I’m Mexican, but I grew up in Dubai and then lived in New York,” she said, “and only came to Mexico about four years ago. So I ended up reconnecting… [and when] we were shooting the movie, I was reconnecting because Camila wanted to reconnect.
Create the surreal world of bardo was a challenge for the craft team, so González Iñárritu’s direction was essential for costume designer Anna Terrazas, production designer Eugenio Cabellero and sound designer Martín Hernández, who were also part of the panel. “The costumes were going to contribute to this epic dream and make this transition between reality and dreams,” said Terrazas. “Our approach to this was through the use of color.”
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Caballero added, “In order to have all this fluidity, we also had to have a lot of precision in how we planned the film.”
Hernández said, “To me, the film feels more like a concept album. I feel like you can just place the needle on the vinyl and let it go. … It’s mostly about letting yourself be carried away by the sound. This would not be possible without the need for Alejandro to go into detail.
Check back Monday for the panel video.