Monday, May 19, 2008

Top Trilogies - 7 - Interweaving Human Tragedies by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Inarritu is part of the Mexican New Wave lead by himself along with his great friends and contemporaries Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron. Getting a later start than the other two the first film in his trilogy is Amores Perros (2000) which was a collection of interweaving stories that show loss and regret and love (the translation of the title means Love's a Bitch). This oft-overlooked picture was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar (though it lost to the Best Picture nominated Croutching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.)

In 2003 he came to America for his more than compelling 21 Grams; which, like Amores Perros, connects the stories through the tragedy of a car accident. In Grams, however, Inarritu adds some more twists and turns and even tells the story out of sequence using the car accident of a suburban family, the salvation of an ex-con (Benicio del Toro) and the heart problems of a Math Professor (Sean Penn) to connect to the wife and mother of the accident victims (Naomi Watts). While not nominated for any complete picture awards, 21 Grams was nominated for two acting oscars Del Toro in a supporting role and Watts in a leading role.

It was in 2006, however, that one of Inarritu's pictures took the film industry by storm. When he released Babel people saw what he was capable of. Taking some of the basic concepts and techniques that he brilliantly utialized in his first two films and translated them onto a global scale. This time instead of a single event connecting his characters he uses the international communication problem (language) as the problem connecting people. Yet, at the same time he uses one single transaction (which I will not reveal here) to connect people all around the world, that is the way this global economy works. Babel was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, Director and two acting awards, though it only won one (Best Score).

With his three films Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has shown a master level skill for the technical and story-telling aspects of his films, as well as an uncanny skill of directing his actors. With the future of cinema in the hands of young men like Inarritu and the other two members of the New Mexican Cinema we have a bright and wonderful future to North American and International filmmaking for years to come.

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