Yesterday, Dad and I went to see Biutiful, at the Broadway Theatre (aptly catchphrased: "saskatoon's window on the world"--you'd have to know what a conservative, close-minded, ego-centric little city this is to understand).
|A coming attraction: Blacula|
|(Magical lamp post, because everywhere has one)|
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and starring Javier Bardem (he of the beautifully heavy lidded eyes), this two and a half hour film encompasses life, death, and all the spaces in-between--from the barely alive to the barely dead. The protagonist, Uxbal, is a man who helps illegal (primarily Chinese and African) immigrants find work in his native Barcelona. He is the father of two children, whose mother is a recovering bi-polar addict with a big nose. To make matters worse, Uxbal finds out he is dying of prostate cancer.
Sounds depressing, right?
Well, it is, but it isn't. The streets of Barcelona are depicted as gritty; the lives of the immigrants, and Uxbal himself (and apparently almost everyone else in Barcelona) verging on destitute. Yet, despite this, there is some beauty in it all. In between all those visuals of cracked pavement and flickering neon, there are some truly stunning shots, that fill the viewer with a sense of the sublime--the imperfect perfectness of existence.
The characters, too, are flawed but beautiful, and this makes them feel real. Uxbal's broken family, although it has its ugly moments, also has its heartwarming ones (like when the whole family starts digging into ice cream with their hands for fun). It is a dark movie, laced throughout with shreds of hope in the midst of hopelessnesss and tragedy.
I would highly suggest this film to anyone who wants to get down to the bare bones of what it is to be human. Do not be put off by the length--the film flies by, but still leaves you satisfied. Every aspect of it is carefully constructed, and layered together to provide an experience that will draw you in, and completely immerse you.