Alejandro G. Iárritu Tears Up After Three-Hour ‘Bardo’ Receives Four-Minute Standing Ovation in Venice
Will “Bardo” become Alejandro González Iárritu’s third best director Oscar in a row, after “Birdman” and “The Revenant”? Many people were wondering this before the Venice Film Festival, where the Netflix-backed “Bardo” world premiered in competition.
They had plenty of time to think about their response after the three-hour film finished at 12:15 a.m. Venice time and received a four-minute standing ovation at the Sala Grande. Given the late hour, some audience members began to leave before the film ended, but the vast majority showed up to support the director and stayed to applaud him until the very end.
Iárritu was visibly moved by the response to his film, which was undoubtedly one of his most personal efforts to date, and cried as he embraced his cast and producers. His first feature film since 2015’s “The Revenant” is “Bardo.”
The film has drawn comparisons to Federico Fellini’s opus “8 1/2,” but the Venice audience appeared to stay with the film (there were few walkouts), delighting in Iárritu’s visual spectacles that were at times meandering but often profound and affecting.
“Bardo,” written by Iárritu and Nicolás Giacobone, who previously collaborated on Oscar winner “Birdman,” tells the story of a Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker who returns home and struggles with his identity and family relationships. Daniel Giménez Cacho and Griselda Siciliani star in the film. Notably, “Bardo” is Iárritu’s first return to Mexico since his breakthrough feature directorial debut “Amores perros.”
The film’s 174-minute runtime will undoubtedly turn off some viewers, and there are long, meditative sections that are unnecessary. However, at its core, “Bardo” is a story about identity, home, and family. The quiet moments between Giménez Cacho’s Los Angeles-based journalist Silverio and his two children, discussing Mexico and their conflicted identities, are some of the film’s most moving scenes, rather than the historical or Fellini-esque, phantasmagoric set pieces (where you really see that Netflix money on screen).
“Bardo” is Iárritu’s first Venice Film Festival world premiere, and Netflix’s second this year, following Noah Baumbach’s “White Noise” on Wednesday. Next week, the streamer will return for Andrew Dominik’s “Blonde.” The Golden Lion is up for grabs in all three films.
“Alejandro is one of the greatest modern filmmakers and one of our industry’s leading visionaries,” said Netflix Head of Global Film Scott Stuber when the drama was picked up by the streaming service. “‘Bardo’ is a cinematic experience that has inspired us to develop a release strategy that will allow the film to reach as many people as possible.” We will provide film fans worldwide with the opportunity to see the film through a global theatrical release as well as a global Netflix release. I’ve known Alejandro for a long time and am thrilled to finally be able to collaborate with him and bring his film to a global audience.”