Biutiful, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s long-awaited follow-up to Babel (which scored seven Oscar nominations in 2007 including best picture), came into Toronto with a stateside distrib (Lionsgate’s Roadside Attractions), and played well here. Javier Bardem’s performance as a down-and-out psychic in Barcelona, Spain, which shared the best actor prize in Cannes, is definitely on the Oscar radar.
A sophisticated, intuitive and passionate director, Inarritu says that making a more simple movie (without longtime collaborator Guillermo Arriaga) turned out to be a challenge. “One city, one single character, one point-of-view, in my own language: I thought it would be easier,” the director says in our flip cam interview below. “You’re naked, there’s no way to hide.”
We also discussed why Biutiful has inspired such divergent reaction overseas and in America, and why folks today are scared of raw emotion, which is, fair to say, Inarritu’s stock in trade. While I consider Biutiful to be a must-see, some critics resist this out-and-out tragedy. The director set out to “create catharsis” in people, he says, and expected the film to “provoke extreme reactions.” Audiences should “go with the flow, see it, take it.”