Bardo: Into the mind of 'The Revenant' filmmaker

| Updated: December 30, 2022 14:17:01

Bardo: Into the mind of 'The Revenant' filmmaker

Films with autobiographical elements have been a growing trend in 2022. Many prominent directors made films based on their lives, such as Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans, James Gray's Armageddon Time, and so on. 

Alejandro González Iñárritu is famous for his psychological drama films depicting the human condition, most notably The Revenant, which won him an Oscar for best director in 2015. 

After seven years, he finally returned to directing, and his latest film is based on his life experiences: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths.

Directors never portray themselves in their films; Iñárritu is not any different. He portrays his life experience through the character of Silverio Gama - a Mexican journalist turned documentary filmmaker. Silverio is a successful filmmaker living with his family in Los Angeles. Despite his success, he still couldn't move on from his first son's death.

Humans are known for their imaginations, which help them cope with reality. Silverio is no different; he daydreams along with his daily activities. He imagines the Mexican-American war when visiting a famous Mexican war memoria, Spanish inquisitor Hernán Cortés committing genocide when stressed, and Mexican immigrants crossing borders when he feels guilty for living a good life in America. Imagination and reality clash inside his mind.

Bardo presents a big plot twist at the end of the film. It turns out that Silverio was in a coma the whole time; the actual events that happened prior were also in his imagination. 

He is stuck inside his mind; his thinking can only be influenced by the people speaking at his bedside and the shows played on the TV. Iñárritu is famous for his psychological dramas, and in this part, he masterfully executed the psychological plot twist.

Does Silverio live, die, or remain trapped in the coma? Director Iñárritu presents an ambiguous ending and leaves it to the audience's imagination.

Bardo seems like a very confusing film at first. The imaginations make no sense; why does Silverio fantasise about everything in his daily life? Nobody could really understand, only speculate. 

But as the film progresses, it depicts Silverio's mind full of grief, trauma, and guilt, and he finds many creative ways to cope with them through false chronicles. 

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths might feel monotonous for its duration of almost three hours, but for lovers of psychological drama, it's a rare treat.

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