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 filmmaking, Silverio (Daniel Giménez Cacho) suddenly is compelled to re-examine his Mexican roots. Upon arrival, he contends with embarrassing memories from the past and an existential crisis.
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González Iñárritu started to really consider the nature of immigration and belonging when he created Carne y Arena, a virtual-reality installation that gave him the opportunity to speak to more than 500 immigrants crossing the border. “There was a very, very deep call of the nature of being an immigrant,” he said Saturday at Deadline’s The Contenders Film: Los Angeles event. “What we share in common was that nostalgia, melancholia — all the things that you lose when you leave your country.”
Silverio is a stand-in for González Iñárritu through the story, so the director needed to find the perfect person.“He found so many coincidences between us,” Giménez Cacho said. “Once that was set 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 me.”
Ximena Lamadrid, who plays Silverio’s daughter Camila, instantly found parallels to her own life. “I’m Mexican, but I grew up in Dubai, then I lived in New York,” she said, “and then only did I come to Mexico about four years ago. So I finally reconnected … [and when] we were shooting the film, I was reconnecting as Camila was wanting 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 also were on the panel. “Costumes were going to contribute 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, “In order to have all of this fluidity, we also had to have a lot of precision on how we planned the film.”
Said Hernández: “To me, the film is more like a concept album. I feel like you can just place the needle on the vinyl and let it go. … It’s a lot about getting carried away through sound. It wouldn’t be possible without Alejandro’s necessity to go in to detail.”
Check back Monday for the panel video.