Bardo 2022 film poster.png

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Spanish: Bardo, falsa crónica de unas cuantas verdades), or simply Bardo, is a Mexican epic black comedy-drama co-written, co-composed, edited, produced, and directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. The film follows a journalist/documentarian who returns to his native country of Mexico and begins having an existential crisis in the form of dreamlike visions. It is Iñárritu’s first film to be fully filmed in Mexico since Amores perros in 2000. Of course, I watched this film (I never heard of it til now) because it was nominated for an Oscar. It has English subtitles and is over two and a half hours long. I found Bardo confusing but is a good literary piece that could probably be enjoyed more by a critic.

FYI: The title refers to the Buddhist concept bardo, a liminal state between death and rebirth.

Silverio Gama (Daniel Giménez Cacho) is a Mexican journalist turned documentary filmmaker living in Los Angeles with his wife Lucía Gama (Griselda Siciliani), and teenage son, Lorenzo Gama (Iker Sanchez Solano). His work has become increasingly personal and subjective as he has grown older; his latest film, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, is a work of docufiction with autobiographical elements. Silverio and Lucía are happy together, but they are haunted by the death of their first son, Mateo, a day after his birth. The two keep Mateo’s ashes and feel unable to move on from his loss. Silverio experiences much of his day-to-day life in a surreal fashion, with dreams, memories, and fantasies playing out alongside his activities. When he meets America’s ambassador to Mexico, Ambassador Jones (Jay O. Sanders), at Chapultepec Castle, for instance, he envisions the events of the 1847 Battle of Chapultepec and the suicides of the Niños Héroes around him.

Silverio learns that he will be the first Latin American to receive a prestigious American award for journalism. He speculates that he is only receiving the award to ease tensions between the United States and Mexico (inflamed by negative perceptions of U.S.–Mexico migration as well as Amazon’s attempts to purchase the Mexican state of Baja California), but nevertheless tries to deal with a wave of media scrutiny in his home country. He cancels an interview on a popular talk show at the last minute, reminisces about his time as a husband and father, and tries to strike a balance between attacking the problems he sees with the Mexican state and defending its people from stereotypes. Secretly, he feels guilty over emigrating to the U.S. when so many other Mexicans cannot leave.

I believe Silverio’s feelings of guilt motivate this movie and sets the scene for the entire film.  It dwells deep into Silverio’s psyche and may be a bit much for the average moviegoer. There are multiple scenes that teeter back and forward between made-up stories and real history, (whatever suits the situation). Because of the subtitles and the level of concentration one would need to give Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths the justice it probably deserves, I am limiting my opinion of this movie, leaving it up to viewers who might truly get it.

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths was released in theaters on November 18, 2022, then began streaming on Netflix on December 16, 2022. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the performances of Cacho and Siciliani, as well as Khondji’s cinematography and Iñarritu’s direction, but criticized the writing and runtime with many also criticizing it as self-indulgent and pretentious. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 59% of 148 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The website’s consensus reads, “As deeply personal as it is demanding, Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths unsteadily walks the line between brilliance and sheer self-indulgence.” This movie is not for everyone, you can see it on Netflix — Check It Out!

[BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS is Oscar-nominated at the 95th Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, totaling 1 nomination]



4 responses to “BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS (2022) – My rating: 6/10

  1. It’s really interesting to see what you think about the movies — great reviews 🎞📽✌️😆

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are welcome, it’s a pleasure ✌️✌️😄. Keep up the excellent work 💙🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this idea

    Liked by 2 people

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