“Our own lives are just a bunch of narratives we tell ourselves.”
In Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, the newest film from four-time Academy Award winner Alejandro González Iñárritu, acclaimed journalist-turned-documentarian Silverio Gama goes on an oneiric introspective journey to reconcile with the past, the present and his Mexican identity.
In this exclusive featurette, the director talks about becoming “an in between” as he chronicles not just his character’s journey but his own, navigating the space that exists for himself and for those that exist in both places.
As Iñárritu mentioned in our interview with him, coming from a deeply personal place with Bardo he said, “I think it was a very cathartic experience for me because all these things coming from a very, very delicate, fragile, vulnerable part of myself, to allow myself to open and to express things that I have been maybe suppressed for a long time because they belong to the unconscious.”
Among his chief collaborators, production designer Eugenio Caballero says, Bardo is “the state of existence where you start mixing memories, dreams and memories.” Cinematographer Darius Khondji shot the film in large format, 65 mm and wanted his work to be indicative of the dreamlike state that his director was looking to achieve.
Another one of Bardo‘s most spectacular sequences is a pivotal scene set during a party for Silverio at the renowned California Dancing Club in Mexico City (image above). “[That scene] was, for sure, the biggest challenge,” remembers Khondji.
Caballero recalls that the location had been closed for many months due to the COVID pandemic and as a result, “The ceilings were falling down, we had to shore up the roofs, to carry out a structural review in order to be able to put all of the people in the scene.”
Preparation for that sequence required Caballero and Khondji to collaborate closely with Iñárritu on the final result. “It was a week’s work of transformation of the space, understanding what the colors of the space were, and what the elements we needed in terms of lighting,“ recalls Caballero. Khondji estimates “there were thousands and thousands of different lights put in different areas. We changed the club completely and made it ours.”
Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths was released in select theaters on November 4 and will be on Netflix December 16.