Post Magazine

February 2011

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 51

director’s chair Alejandro González Iñárritu — Biutiful By IAIN BLAIR 2000 debut feature film Amores Perros, which was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film and received over 60 prizes, becoming the most awarded film around the world that year. Iñárritu's 2003 follow-up film, 21 Grams, which he conceived, directed and produced, won Oscar noms for its stars Benicio del Toro and Naomi Watts. His 2006 feature Babel, starring Cate Blanchet and Brad Pitt, earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Film and Best Director. H OLLYWOOD — Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu di- rected and produced his acclaimed center of downtown Barcelona, so we had to close down the whole area, and that was a big problem logistically and politically.We had to work hard to make that happen. Then there was the disco scene, which was just one long shot, and that was very chal- lenging technically to design it and stage it. “But I’d have to say the most challenging aspect for me was finding the visual gram- mar, the architectural design to maintain in- terest in a guy who’s fallen down, a guy who’s dying. How do you keep the audience interested in the last 75 days of this man’s life? How do you pin down the internal structure of each scene, so it keeps moving and growing? But the most diffi- cult thing was to maintain and survive the emotional demands of each scene, because we This much- lauded filmmaker takes on life and death in his latest offering. His latest feature, Biutiful, starring Javier Bardem, marks a change of focus for the master of multiple storylines, fractured structures and crossing narratives. Instead, it tells the simple but powerful story of Uxbal, a father of two living in Barcelona, who is di- agnosed with terminal cancer, and is coming to terms with his life and death. Here, in an exclusive interview, Iñárritu talks about making the film and his love of post and editing. POST: What sort of film did you set out to make? ALEJANDRO GONZÁLEZ IÑÁRRITU: “This film took me to places, spiritually, phys- ically and emotionally that I don’t go to very often. I think that’s why when people experi- ence it they will feel it’s taken them to places they haven’t visited in a long time too. So those emotional muscles are stiff from lack of use. I think it will also show them sides of a city that they thought they knew, but really didn’t. It’s a journey in a good way, and that’s what I set out to make — a journey.” POST: What were the biggest technical challenges of making this? IÑÁRRITU: “There were several se- quences that were very challenging to shoot. First, there’s the huge chase in the 10 Post • February 2011 were dealing with very radioactive material, emotionally speaking. So to get the truth out of every performance — not just Javier’s, but of every non-actor around him — was very time consuming and challenging.” POST: Where did you shoot and how long was it? IÑÁRRITU: “Almost five months, all in Barcelona.” POST: Tell us about working with DP Rodrigo Prieto, as Biutiful marks your fourth collaboration. IÑÁRRITU: “I’ve worked with him since even before I became a filmmaker, and he’s just a master of his craft. In this case, because things, but I think subconsciously they will, and the changes in his life and point of view.” POST: Where did you do the post? How long was the process? IÑÁRRITU: “Post was very complicated as we began post in Barcelona and the lab was there.Then we also began editing over there, and then sent stuff here and moved back to LA to continue all the post and editing work, which we did in a little suite on the lot at Uni- versal, and finally finished up at EFilm.” POST: Do you like the post process? IÑÁRRITU: “I love the whole post process, especially the editing, as it’s the third dimension of making your film. Before that, of the subject matter and the metaphysical and supernatural aspect of it, we took li- cense to get the work to another level. I think this is his most lyrical and poetic work up till now.We sit down and design every frame of the film. “So Uxbal starts as this very tight, con- trolled guy, and we used lots of long lenses and the camera’s moving quickly and we edited those scenes quickly, all in the 1.85:1 format. But once he begins to surrender to the news and he has to become wiser about his life, we changed format to 2.35:1 to get his vision literally wider, and we began shoot- ing in 27fps every time we come to his point of view, so that everything becomes a little slower. His life then becomes more impor- tant and more relevant and more profound. So maybe audiences won’t notice all those Alejandro González Iñárritu: “It’s only when you start editing that you basically rewrite your script and find the film. I just love that process and finding out what the film really is and means.” ALL PHOTOS: JOSE HARO

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - February 2011