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Watch: Alejandro González Iñárritu and the Human Eye

Watch: Alejandro González Iñárritu and the Human Eye

It’s a special accomplishment if a director can make viewers pay attention to an actor’s physicality, in addition to the words coming out of his or her mouth. I don’t just mean the actor’s looks, or their body shape–I’m referring more to the way the body is used, the way Brian De Palma made the ultra-physical Robert De Niro somehow even more physical in ‘The Untouchables,’ or the way Noah Baumbach got self-aware physical comedy out of Greta Gerwig in ‘Greenberg’ or even ‘Frances Ha.’ Similarly, among the many things he makes us aware of, Alejandro González Iñárritu manages to make viewers focus on small body parts, such as the human eye. Consider Emma Stone’s unearthly eyes in ‘Birdman,’ or Benicio del Toro’s wincing, human eyes in ’21 Grams’–in both these cases, we see characters feeling emotions with their optical nerves. The act of looking becomes an act of outreach, and a whole story is told in a remarkably small space. Nelson Carvajal is sensitive to this element of the frequently grandiose Iñárritu oeuvre, and he does a considerable service to the filmmaker’s work with this video essay by showing that Iñárritu can “go small” as well, to great effect.

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