Bardo, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, documents one man’s cultural rediscovery as he leaves Los Angeles and returns to Mexico. After receiving a prestigious award for his work in journalism and documentary making, Silverio (Daniel Giménez Cacho) is suddenly forced to reexamine his Mexican roots. Upon arrival, he struggles with embarrassing memories from the past and an existential crisis.
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González Iñárritu really started to think about the nature of immigration and belonging when he created Carne y Arena, a virtual reality installation that gave him the chance to speak with more than 500 immigrants crossing the border. “There was a very, very deep call to be an immigrant,” he said Saturday at TBEN’s The Contenders Film: Los Angeles event. “What we had in common was that nostalgia, melancholy — all the things you lose when you leave your country.”
Silverio is a replacement for González Iñárritu throughout the story, so the director had to find the perfect person. “He found so many coincidences between us,” said Giménez Cacho. “Once that was set up for me, it was really easy because I didn’t have to build or construct a character. Although it is a personal story of Alejandro, it became a very personal story of mine.”
Ximena Lamadrid, who plays Silverio’s daughter Camila, immediately found parallels with her own life. “I’m Mexican, but I grew up in Dubai, then I lived in New York,” she said, “and it wasn’t until then that I came to Mexico about four years ago. So I’m finally connected again… [and when] we were shooting the movie, i reconnected while Camila wanted to reconnect.
Creating the surreal world of Bardo was a challenge for the craft team, so González Iñárritu’s direction was key for costume designer Anna Terrazas, production designer Eugenio Cabellero and sound designer Martín Hernández, who were also on the panel. “Costumes would add to this epic dream and make this transition from reality and dreams,” Terrazas said. “Our approach to that was through the use of color.”
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Caballero added, “To have all this fluidity, we also had to have a lot of precision in how we planned the movie.”
Said Hernández: “For me, the film is more of a concept album. I feel like you can just put the needle on the vinyl and let it go. … It’s a lot about getting carried away by sound. It wouldn’t be possible without Alejandro’s need to go into detail.”
Check back Monday for the panel video.
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