#REVIEW: “BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
Renowned Journalist/Documentarian Silverio Gama (Daniel Gimenez Cacho) returns for a quick visit to his native Mexico with his wife and two teenaged children prior to being the recipient of a prestigious award in Los Angeles, where he has lived for fifteen years. It is a contentious return home, filled with gloom, arguments, and surreal images.
BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS arrives with baggage. First screened at the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals, it received criticism for its unwieldly length. Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu took this to heart and edited out almost 30 minutes, making the Movie more accessible for audiences to savour the most visually arresting film I have seen in decades. Iñárritu’s egocentric, semi-autobiographical story may be lacking as a cohesive narrative but the hallucinatory images captured on celluloid far exceed those in “Birdman”, for which he won his first Oscar. This is the Director’s first movie since winning his second Oscar for “The Revenant” and returning to his native Mexico, it is his most prodigious and frustrating movie to date.
As a Moviegoer, I appreciate storylines that keep me off-kilter and visuals that are dreamlike and, at 159 minutes, BARDO certainly had my full, yet exasperating, attention. In fact, in a world where everyone’s attention span is about as long as a TikTok video, I admire Iñárritu for his audacity. I am deliberately vague about the plot as the joy of watching this movie is one never knows if what we are seeing is Siverio’s reality or imagination. Multiple vignettes stand out. At a party held in his honour, we watch Silverio dance in orgiastic abandon (culminating with him lip synching to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”) followed by an intense argument with a “frenemy” who hosts a popular interview TV tabloid show and ends in a washroom where he has a conversation with his deceased father. Another scene, on the grand streets of Mexico City where hundreds of pedestrians just collapse, we watch Silverio climb-up a huge pyramid of naked, dead bodies and have a philosophical discussion with 16th century conquistador Hernan Cortes. The less said, about the son who died soon after childbirth, the better. It is haunting and bizarre and laced with humour. Yes, this Film is very Salvatore Dali-esque.
Shot in wide screen 65 millimeter, BARDO screams to be watched on a big screen as its magnificent Cinematography and attention to details will be lost on other devices. This Movie annoyingly self-indulgent, creatively hypnotic, and refreshingly challenging. It’s WHY we watch movies!
BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS will screen theatrically in some areas starting on November 18, 2022 (Check your local listings) and will begin its run on Netflix December 16, 2022.