Morelia’s International Film Festival began this weekend with opening remarks by one of the most acclaimed Mexican directors, Alejandro González Iñárritu, known for hit blockbusters such as “Babel” and “Amores Perros.”
His new film, “Biutiful,” highlights issues affecting migrants and tells the story of a dying man discovering what is most important as his life runs out.
Oscar-winning Spanish actor Javier Bardem plays the main character Uxbal, a middleman for African and Chinese migrants. He lives in a Barcelona slum with his two children and deals as best as he can with his bipolar wife.
“Biutiful” shows how migrant life is difficult with exploitation being part of the daily routine. Nevertheless, Iñárritu comments on how his new movie is not trying to ignite dispute on the current immigration debate.
"I'm not trying to make them victims or saints," he said. "I'm just trying to integrate them into a dialogue, show that they're human beings with virtues and flaws, with their needs as parents and children."
Iñárritu said Barcelona is one of the many cities experiencing the growing influx of migrants. He feels the phenomenon is heartbreaking, mentioning how even in México 72 migrants from Central and South America were recently murdered, reportedly after refusing to work for a drug gang that kidnapped them on their way to the U.S.
Iñárritu reinforced how his movie is not about political arguments over migration.
"It's the story of a father and his children, a man who finds love in his most difficult moments," the director said. "There are no accusations. It's not a sermon ... it's the realization that in the final moments of life, what's most important is love, forgiveness, compassion."
México has nominated the film to compete for best foreign film in next year's Oscars. Iñárritu is known for his ability to correlate multiple story lines together seemingly.
Throughout the film, Bardem's character is the main focus. The film begins and ends with the same scene because, Iñárritu said, wanted to create a more lineal, yet circular, story.