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Iñárritu on ‘Bardo’: Netflix’s Theatrical Run Is an ‘Exceptional Gesture’ but Streaming Is a ‘Prevailing Tide’

"Bergman, Bunuel, Fellini, I saw all their movies on TV with terrible quality and VHS," the Oscar winner said.

Alejandro González Iñárritu

Alejandro González Iñárritu


Alejandro González Iñárritu is having a homecoming of many sorts.

The Oscar-winning director returned to his home nation of Mexico to film upcoming feature “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths,” after leaving for Los Angeles exactly 20 years ago. The Netflix film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and will play in movie theaters in Mexico starting October 27 before debuting in North American theaters November 4. Netflix will release the title for streaming December 16.

The special theatrical run in both nations “is something I really appreciate,” Iñárritu said during a Venice Film Festival press conference (via Deadline). “Not only because I was supported and left totally free but [Netflix] has been extremely generous in allowing people to experience this movie in a theater. This is something especially important for me and is an exceptional gesture from Netflix to me. Because I think this is a movie that belongs to this type of experience.”

However, that doesn’t mean Iñárritu wants to “go against the prevailing tide” of streamers. In fact, the concept of at-home movie-watching goes back decades, to the creation of the VHS tape, as “The Revenant” director explained.

“My generation has seen movies by great authors and when I was studying cinema, besides exhibitions and festivals, Bergman, Bunuel, Fellini, I saw all their movies on TV with terrible quality and VHS,” Iñárritu shared. “If I had to go to the toilet I stopped the movie. So we are all forced to stop the screenings. But what remains is our ideas. A movie is a movie. It is just a means. A cathedral for cinema. It’s a place where children are born.”

“Bardo” is billed as a “nostalgic comedy set against an epic personal journey” as a famed Mexican journalist and documentarian returns home to work through an existential crisis. The film is written by Iñárritu and “Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” collaborator Nicolás Giacobone, and stars Daniel Giménez Cacho, Griselda Siciliani, Ximena Lamadrid, and Iker Solano star. Iñarritu also produces the feature.

Netflix purchased the film in April 2022 and revealed an international theatrical rollout similar to fellow Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning “Roma,” Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” and Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Hand of God,” which all received exclusive theatrical play prior to a streaming premiere.

“Alejandro is one of the greatest modern filmmakers and one of the leading visionaries in our industry,” Netflix global film head Scott Stuber said. “‘Bardo’ is a cinematic experience that has inspired us to create a release strategy designed for the film to penetrate culture in the biggest and widest way. We will give film lovers everywhere the opportunity to experience the film through a global theatrical release and the film’s worldwide release on Netflix.”

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