Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)
Bardo, falsa crónica de unas cuantas verdades
starring Daniel Giménez Cacho, Hugo Albores, Andrés Almeida, Misha Arias De La Cantolla
written by Nicolás Giacobone & Alejandro G. Iñárritu
directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu
by Walter Chaw I can't tell you how tempting it is to just re-post my review of Birdman for Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Bardo with a neon "BUT MORE SO" flashing over it, given that I've already invested a full three hours in the Mexican auteur's latest altar to unseemly false modesty. (Oscars four and five, here we come.) This one is another technically dazzling cri de cœur featuring a tortured artist caught in the vicissitudes of a midlife crisis. The stand-in for Iñárritu is Mexican investigative journalist Silverio (a wonderful Daniel Giménez Cacho), who returns to Mexico for the first time in years on the eve of his winning a prestigious award from an American institution. This leads to the usual mid-life stuff: a visit with a dead father and a dying mother; a raucous party where his old friends give him shit for exploiting Mexicans and Mexican culture for gringo fame, power, and approval; a magic-realist consideration of a still-born child, resulting in a repulsive gag played like a circus trick in which a newborn is shoved back into the womb; and the exploration of impostor syndrome, which feels increasingly disingenuous with every enormous set-piece ripped off the Film School Mount Olympus. Bardo is Jay Sherman's 8½, and knowing it doesn't excuse it.