Saturday, April 30, 2011

Biutiful is just beautiful

Biutiful, Spanish Mexican co-production of Alejandro González Iñárritu will hit the shores of Singapore on May 5th 2011 but I had a chance to watch it in Istanbul back in February (on its first day there). Alejandro González Iñárritu and Javier Bardem were enough for me to qualify this movie as a  "must see". The beginning and the end of the movie is peaceful and beautiful (especially the ending, which makes you realize what is that snow covered forest and who are the two men talking). But at first you would find nothing beautiful in between these scenes. It is full of poverty and misery and you will again and again witness how people who have already hit the bottom fall more. But there is still something beautiful and shinning throughout the movie.

In the movie, you will watch the life and death in "other" Barcelona. In fact the only scene which will remind you that the city is Barcelona is a brief display of the towers of Sagrada Familia. We watch the last days of Uxbal a psychic man in different illegal businesses but his only aim is to look after his children and do as much as he can for them. As if he has not already hit the bottom, he learns that he is dying of cancer. He then starts to do as much as he can to ensure his kids can go on life without him. The plot is so sad but it is hardly emotional exploitation, we watch a man, successfully portrayed by Javier Bardem, struggling to the last moment to set everything OK for his kids after he dies.

Uxbal's has a supernatural gift adds a deep dimension to the movie but thanks to successful directing, it does not compromise the realistic mood of the movie. Uxbal, like Cole Sear, can see dead people. He is a psychic man who uses his ability to help dead pay their debt before they leave (and make money from their devastated families). He knows well that "the dead suffer if they leave debt behind". This ability also helps the director to create one of the best "passing away" scene I have ever seen.

-- spoiler --
"The dead suffer if they leave debt behind". This sentence gives us a clue whether he successfully paid all his debt especially after all those things went wrong throughout the movie. In that peaceful, snow covered forest with his dad, he smiles calmly to tell us that he is not suffering and left no debt behind.
-- spoiler --

Yes, Iñárritu is repeating himself and and I still think Amores Perros is the best Iñárritu movie. But I believe this movie is still a masterpiece and I even put it in front of 21 Grams.

So what is beautiful in Biutiful? Uxbal's love for his family is beautiful. His never fading hope for his children's future is beautiful. His will to fight till the end, despite his great pain is beautiful. Biutiful tells how precious gems are life, love and family shining even in the dirt of poverty and misery, and this is beautiful.

The movie was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards and Javier Bardem received a nomination for Best Actor and received many awards. I strongly recommend it. I will actually go and watch it again.        

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