Monday, November 23, 2009

The Three Amigos: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Alejandro aka “El Negro” (as his friends call him) is one of the three Mexican filmmakers spearheading Mexico’s Cinema to worldwide recognition. The other two being: Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro. Together they are a force to be reckoned with. Call it a clique if you may, but their intimate collaboration with each other’s projects as well as their continuous support for new emerging filmmakers has proven to be successful in drawing attention to a movie industry that has been on the map from time to time, though never managed to breakthrough, until now.

Alejandro started his career as a DJ for one of Mexico’s biggest radio stations and soon moved to directing commercials and short-films. His first feature length film splashed its way out of nowhere into the world in 2000 and quickly garnered great critical reviews and box-office success.

Amores Perros (2000)

A kinetic film in which three stories converge with a car accident in the streets of Mexico City. The film employs a gritty raw handheld photography that seems too commonplace nowadays, but was far from commonplace back in 2000. The naturalistic-traditional music scoring the film is carefully blended with pop music, bringing a great balance to the story and the atmosphere of the movie. One of the great moments of music in film is the brilliant choice of bringing out of semi-obscurity one of Nacha Pop’s hits “Lucha de Gigantes” scoring a passionate scene between Gael García Bernal and Vanessa Bauche intercut with a brutal beating of Gael’s character brother, Octavio (who also happens to be Vanessa’s character husband).

Powder Keg (2001)

In the heels of Amores Perros’ success, Iñárritu followed with a short film for the overly ambitious BMW film project, Powder Keg. El Negro continued experimenting with the hand-held camerawork, raw kinetic power punching photography and violence to deliver one of the best shorts in the series.

11'09''01 - September 11 (2002)

The following year he once again contributed to a collection of short films centered around 9/11. The film collection as a whole was an uneven collection and Alejandro’s work was just a step above a novelty.

21 Grams (2003)

In 2003, in his first US film he further deconstructed narrative by presenting a story out of any chronological order by pushing the audience to take a leap of faith with the characters and their tribulations. The gamble paid off, and his deconstruction of the story proved to be a successful attempt at exciting storytelling.

Babel (2006)

After producing one film per year, Babel took 3 years to produce. Iñárritu’s most ambitious project to date showed the evolution of a filmmaker by tackling something that seemed impossible. His same preoccupations and ideas (a true sign of an auteur) were painted upon the broadest scale possible, the whole wide world. A story revealing the interrelation of all human being and their actions, no matter how insignificant they might appear.

To Each His Own Cinema - Segment “Anna” (2007)

Another uneven but very well intended compilation of short films, this time celebrating Cannes 60th Anniversary. A very good short-film about the emotional power of Cinema set in a film theater.

Alejandro González Iñárritu is one great filmmaker and his films keep getting better. I can’t wait to see Biutiful.

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