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Javier Bardem Talks Biutiful: "We Have to Reach People's Hearts, Not Their Pockets"

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood December 10, 2010 at 4:43AM

It's no surprise that the great Spanish actor Javier Bardem delivers yet another incendiary performance, under the director of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, in Biutiful, which won the best actor award in Cannes and finally opens stateside on December 29 for awards consideration. TOH's Sophia Savage interviewed Bardem on December 9.
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Biutiful
Javier Bardem on set with director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

It's no surprise that the great Spanish actor Javier Bardem delivers yet another incendiary performance, under the director of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, in Biutiful, which won the best actor award in Cannes and finally opens stateside on December 29 for awards consideration. TOH's Sophia Savage interviewed Bardem on December 9.

Javier Bardem wants us to know that--as Sean Penn put it at a recent DGA screening Q&A--Biutiful is the feel-good movie of the year. "We have to reach people's hearts," Bardem said, "not their pockets." While Iñárritu's film approaches two and a half hours and puts the weight of the world onto Bardem's shoulders as if he were Atlas, the film still takes you on a journey to a better place. Embodying Uxbal was not a "role" for Bardem, nor was it "an experience of detachment," Bardem said. "You [as an actor] have to face those things for real, and in doing that you face yourself in a very personal way."

The five part interview with Bardem is below; here is Anne Thompson's Toronto interview with Inarritu.

Part 1: Uxbal's journey, audiences connecting to art, "in order to learn what we are, we have to see somebody else being," he says, "so we can reflect in them and know that we belong to the same species."


Part 2: Facing the breadth of Uxbal's emotional journey; our culture of denial; Bardem learning about himself through Uxbal:


[Note: I mistakenly refer to Uxbal's vision of his father as his son.]

Part 3: The concept of a man having a code; how playing a father in Biutiful informed his performance in Eat, Pray, Love; The future of films like Biutiful and the importance of society embracing them to help us "understand the world on an emotional level":


Part 4: The struggle to get people to see emotionally raw films and the subsequent reward; Biutiful as the "feel good-movie of the year"; our capacity for and awareness of human emotion; Biutiful a cathartic experience; Bardem's desire to do a comedy with Al Pacino:


Part 5: Bardem talks what's next (including the role he just shot in Terrence Malick's untitled project), addresses casting rumors, and "just be[ing]":

This article is related to: Awards, Box Office, Directors, Festivals, Genres, Headliners, Hollywood, Independents, Video, Interviews , Media, Marketing, Oscars, Winter, Drama, Foreign, Javier Bardem


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.