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Biutiful

2 Oscar nominations! Best Actor (Javier Bardem), Best Foreign Language Film

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Biutiful is set in a run-down neighbourhood of present-day Barcelona and stars Javier Bardem as Uxbal, a remarkably busy hustler who divides his time between running drug dealers on the local streets, paying off the cops and organising sweatshop and building site work for Chinese immigrants, along with his sleazy brother Tito (Eduard Fernández). On top of that, Uxbal is also a loving father to his two children and takes care of his bipolar, alcoholic, sometimes-estranged wife Marambra (Maricel Álvarez). Uxbal also has the ability to see and talk to the dead, so he occasionally makes money by easing them into the afterlife and convincing their grieving families that they have passed peacefully. When he’s diagnosed with terminal cancer, Uxbal realises he has to put his own life in order but instead finds everything spiralling increasingly out of control. Bardem delivers a terrific central performance as Uxbal, a thoroughly moral and compassionate man who is involved in illegal activity but treats his street dealers and exploited workers with respect; he is clearly a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders – or rather, the weight of two worlds, since he also seemingly has time to comfort the dead. There’s also strong support from both Eduard Fernández and Maricel Álvarez. The film is beautifully shot, with striking, frenetic cinematography by Iñárritu’s regular collaborator Rodriego Prieto. There are also some subtle but extremely powerful special effects – most notably the ghosts that are often visible lurking quietly on the ceilings; this has a devastating emotional pay-off in the latter half of the film. Iñárritu orchestrates some extraordinary sequences. Highlights include a police bust of the street vendors that explodes with energy and is partially shot from above so it resembles someone pouring hot water on an ants nest; Marambra and Tito’s first scene, involving careless use of red wine and revealing words, is also extremely well done. Beautifully shot and superbly written, this is a powerfully emotional drama with a terrific central performance by Javier Bardem. Highly recommended. – Matthew Turner, ViewLondonOfficial Trailer
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Directed by: 
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Running Time: 
148
Language: 
Spanish, with English subtitles
Starring: 
Javier Bardem, Maricel Alvarez, Eduardo Fernandez, Diaryatou Daff, Cheng Tai Shen, Luo Jin
Screenplay by: 
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Armando Bo, Nicolás Giacobone

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