Alejandro González Iñárritu The Poet of Fluid Motion

A far while back I started a showcase on the 23 best film directors working in the industry today, in this article I will study the impact of of Oscar winner Alejandro González Iñárritu.
An immersive director with an exceptional portfolio of masterful work all with one characteristic in common, impact, an impact to astound, to dramatize to a substantial degree and shock with selected great camera work.

Alejandro-González-Iñárritu

 

The director in question started out with two shorts before moving on to his first feature film and undoubtedly his greatest work ‘Amores Perros’.

amores-perros-3

 

Released in the year 2000 it told three intertwining stories about love, loss and dogs, but not in the way some people may think, Alejandro left the shock factor in for all to see, depicting some extremely graphic scenes that I cannot mention due to the spoiler of the film and its main plot, but within the film one substantial event causes the catastrophic drive that immerses all three prime characters, he explored how love could cause people to act in certain ways, this isn’t exactly a romantic comedy, it’s as harsh as a tragic drama can be, its reality, so distressing you may even forget you’re watching a film at all but witnessing an unrelenting feature which launched Alejandro in the limelight in his chosen continent of South America, the feature of real life.
Three years later came his first Hollywood feature film starring Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro, ’21 Grams’ told the story of a fateful accident which brought together these three people. A prime feature of Inarritu is combining characters and using them very well to drive a plot of a film, the unique factor of this film is that it was shot purely from hand held cameras in chronological but the final cut itself is not even chronological, which perfectly displays the prowess of storytelling by the director. Not quite as shocking as his previous feature back in 2000 but still as distressing, which is a phenomenal characteristic of the creative, truly magnifying the pain of the actors on screen to produce an engrossing feature such as ’21 Grams’ the title itself is taken from the work of Dr. Duncan MacDougall in the early twentieth century, he measured several dying objects portraying that the soul weighed 21 grams. There is certainly soul in this feature of Alejandro’s and it is a must watch for anyone who has not seen it.

x600

 

In 2006 ‘Babel’ was released, featuring notable cast members including Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and the award winning Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal. The film tells the story of a tragedy which has an impact on four different families. Inarritu manages yet again to connect the lives of people across four different continents which in this film include North and South America, Asia and the Middle East, what is in fact interesting about this film is how seamlessly strangers can connect through harsh circumstances, yet again reflecting reality as part of the directors art, that is the impression that this director gives and the results he produces in this film are superb, it is not certainly a weak film from him but one he could have elaborated more on, take nothing away from him, still masterful from the Mexican artist.

MCDBABE EC112

BABEL, Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Brad Pitt, on set, 2006. ©Paramount Classics

Just four years later came his first work focusing solely on one main protagonist, the film ‘Biutiful’ which starred Javier Bardem in what is perhaps one of his best ever roles since his Oscar winning one in ‘No Country for Old Men’ back in 2008.

Biutiful_a_l

 

Set in Barcelona it tells the story of Uxbal played by Bardem as he struggles to deal with his crumbling life around him, the more and more we delve into his character the scarier we see the spiral that is surrounding him and the effect it has on those around him. The film was also written by Inarritu so it gives him the extra emotion to truly amplify his importance both in dialogue spoken and camera work selected for true substantial effect, quite definitely worth a watch but can be very unsettling for those not used to the directors’ style.

Birdman’ followed next in 2014 which earned him his first Oscar and propelled him into the Hollywood limelight, the same effect it had on Alfonso Cuaron when he made ‘Gravity’.

birdman-poster1

 

To be honest it is not certainly his best work but it is a distinctive piece of work for the actors he chose to be in it, it’s quite unconventional to say the least following a Murphy’s Law-esque type of approach of anything that can go wrong does. I did enjoy this film in the sense its certainly the most comic one he has done, Alejandro may not be famous for this genre of film type as drama does exist in this film too with a hint of surrealism, his relationship with Michael Keaton worked very well, thrusting Keaton further and using his Batman background as groundwork for this film and an homage too. The relationship and chemistry of the actors on screen is brilliant also, using the theatre both front and back of house to drive the plot of the film along with the disastrous results that come from it.

Already a glowing portfolio Alejandro G Inarritu had one more name to cross of his list of having worked with, and who better than one of the greatest of his generation Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Revenant’.

the-revenant-DF-03674_rgb_MAIN

 

Inarritu wanted to reflect a new reality, a new harsh truth on screen and its poetry that his films had made on the past, with this film he utilised that to its fullest every effect, putting not just the protagonist but the entire personnel who worked alongside him in this film through their paces and making them suffer but always with an extraordinary outcome in mind.

Working alongside a great cinematographer too in ‘Emmanuel Lubezki’, Inarittu showed us some spectacular scenery and natural lighting to fully immerse us in the novel of Hugh Glass and his vicious bear attack as well as his vengeance and survival. This is certainly one of his greatest efforts, unquestionably in his top three films, with this feature he managed to create an astonishing experience while draining the life out of DiCaprio, it was brutal, malevolent and exponential.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu manages to get the best out of the talent he works with, not only that he manages to make them go beyond, which makes him go beyond his vision and consciousness, his auteur style can be identified from a large distance, his portfolio of films tell us this, his poetry within them, their raw emotions, their harsh truths and distressing depictions the directors stories he has chosen to showcase on screen, an absolutely meticulous artist that still has saved his greatest work for last I am sure, a shining example to aspiring directors who wish to apply poetry to moving art in motion.

“When we are looking for validation that will never satisfy us, when we are looking for affection, for love, a little bit of that will be enough to be complete..”

 

– Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu

 

 

Advertisements

The Raid: The Defining Action Trilogy of the Decade

Very few action films come along that seldom live in the memory of the cinema and film spectator, there are some that captivate us with extraordinary sequences, some that have great antagonistic face offs, and others that remain immortal, The Raid may just tick all those boxes.

the-raid-posterBack in 2011 Welsh director Gareth Huw Evans released an action film with a similar structure to that of Die Hard, we do not think of it at all as plagiarism but rather taking that inspiration and amplifying it to the superlative maximum. Perfect choreographed fight scenes kept us glued to the screen while at the same time driving a plot in a frenetic and organized direction, the actors themselves were tremendously dedicated to their craft, which very rarely Hollywood actors do in terms of action sequences, the Indonesian production of The Raid allowed Evans to have total control which he executed brilliantly.

Films like Die Hard, Face/Off & Hard Boiled all shared one thing in common in terms of how genres of action should be made, it’s that their chosen plot was very well balanced with action sequences and character development; this is what Evans has shown superbly and in even more greater detail in The Raid 2.

the-raid-2-posterWith almost an hour longer than its predecessor, the sequel takes place moments after the events of the first, with a much wider expansive world, plenty more characters that can fight, shed blood, cause destruction which produces sequences that make almost any modern action film seem like child’s play.

Gareth Evans took what he learned from his first masterpiece and cranked the volume to a level that will make heads implode, and that’s what you get when you witness an action film of such sheer magnitude.

The-Raid-2-3-Connections-StoryThe plot flows even more smoother and with even more detailed action than ever before, you just wonder what he has in store for the 3rd and perhaps final part of this blockbuster trilogy, with Tony Jaa rumoured to be included, filming and development will not begin till 2018 or 2019 according to Gareth Evans.

the-raid-2-gareth-evansWhat these two films did so vividly is attention to exponential detail in terms of action and characters, Gareth Evans trusted his cast so much that they definitely showed their loyalty, the result is on the screen, both films already looking to become instant classics, but with the third looming over the horizon and waiting to be released you just wonder if The Raid trilogy will be a significant benchmark in the rebirth genre of action filmmaking.

10 Foreign Films that Hollywood should stay clear of and not remake

Below are a list of films that thrived in their chosen country of release, Hollywood recently has ran out of ideas for original films and instead they have either expanded the superhero genre or recycled the same Disney analogy over and over.

The following films should remain untouched by Hollywood or if they are to be remade should be remade correctly and stay true to the craft of the original film, Notable mentions that were made well include “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”  “The Departed” (Infernal Affairs), “Insomnia”, “Vanilla Sky”..

Here are the great ten that should not be remade:

1.    “Hodejegerne” Headhunters (2011)  Country of origin: Norway

headhhdAn intense action thriller featuring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister from Game of Thrones), it follows a skilled head-hunter who also acts as a thief stealing valuable pieces of art, but when one heist goes wrong he is hunted by a former mercenary in what becomes a thrilling cat & mouse game. If there is an American adaption it shouldn’t steer away from the original storyline but stay true to the action brilliance of this film.

2. “Cidade de Deus” City of God (2002) Country of origin: Brazil

tumblr_mbe99bsi581qkh4oao1_1280

This masterpiece from Brazil follows the lives of teenagers who grow up in a violent neighbourhood of Rio De Janeiro, what ensues in their coming years is some of the most intense scenarios ever, beautifully shot, this film should remain timeless as it is, I know most of you agree but there is a little curiosity if there is to be a remake, there certainly has been similar films like this but a direct remake should remain off the cards,A masterpiece of modern filmmaking.

3. “Kung-Fu Hustle” (2004) Country of origin: China & Hong Kong

kung-fu-sokagi-izleFeaturing some of the most outlandish and exciting fight sequences, this outrageously entertaining film from Stephen Chow showcases gangsters at wars with residents of small housing complex, highly fantastic, this is one that should remain untouched and if you haven’t seen it already I highly recommend.

4.Amelie” (2001) Country of origin: France

le-fabuleux-destin-d-amelie-poulain-originalIf you have seen Amelie you can argue that this film cannot be remade into any other language, and a Hollywood version should no way be in contention, this brilliant film should remain untouched, it is unique in its own form and an American version should no way be even considered.

5.“Shichinin no samurai” “Seven Samurai” (1954) Country of origin: Japan

Film_2w_SevenSamuraiAlthough a remake has been green lit for next year, it is a very bad move on Hollywood’s part, a sort of remake was made as a western “The Magnificent Seven” but a direct remake should not even be contemplated, considered to be director Akira Kurosawa’s greatest work, if a remake should be made, it should be a tribute and instead of adapting to Hollywood, notable Japanese directors should take the helm if they wish to touch a significant film such as this one.

6.La Haine” (1995) Country of origin: France

la_haine_3Quite possibly one of the most intense French films ever made, it stars a young Vincent Cassel as a youth along with two others that explore Paris in 24 hours, it takes place in riots between citizens and the police. With more recent events taking place around the world, it is easy to see why Hollywood would want to remake this, jumping at the opportunity to adapt it in the modern times during the escalating protests taking place around the world; the whole film takes place in black & white but set during the present time, this does not take away the pure intensity, a classic that has to be seen and felt.

7.“El secreto de sus ojos” “The Secrets in their Eyes” (2009) Country of origin: Argentina

The-Secret-in-Their-Eyes--006A mystery thriller which takes over a number of years in which a detective goes back to solve an unresolved case which brings to light more than he could have anticipated, beautifully shot with an air of mystery & suspense, it would be easy to see why Hollywood would want to tackle a challenge like this one, if done right this could be a great crime remake, the main focus throughout the film are the eyes of each character along with the incredible detail of its brilliant plot.

8. “Ichi The Killer” (2001) Country of origin: Japan

ichi_killer_poster_05[1]Now here is a film that I know for a fact that Hollywood would not even touch due to its extreme graphic nature, Hollywood at best would cut most of the scenes in this brilliant film to even gain an R-Rating (18 UK).

For those who have seen it time and time again, you can argue that you don’t even wish for this film to be remade and also would argue how Hollywood would even tackle this project, Anything outside of United States does not even care if their films are not marketed extensively, some purely rely on word of mouth to reach its cult status, Ichi the Killer is such of a film that has no chance of an English remake.

9.Metropolis” (1927) Country of origin: Germany

metropolis1This sci-fi masterpiece was an absolute landmark when it was released even looking back at it now the pure futuristic setting is one to behold, a massive challenge that was undertaken by Fritz Lang, it would be ridiculous to consider a remake of it because one would take away its significance and would not look modern at all, a Japanese animation of Metropolis was released in 2001 but Hollywood should not go for a remake due to its original importance nearly 90 years ago, a ground-breaking achievement.

10. “Akira” (1988) Country of origin: Japan

Akira-Poster-akira-13827694-1013-1500One of the most important anime films of all time, a lot would argue that this film should not even come close to a Hollywood remake, its sheer complexity in animation should reinforce it as such, some of the scenes witnessed in this film is fantastic to the spectator, although studios have been trying hard to adapt into a live action film, time and time again it has been shut down, maybe even for the greater good, but it is not long before we do see a Hollywood remake whether we like to or not, I for one would not want to.

The enormous size of such of these films should be handled with care, and a remake must stay honest to its originality, in order to do so, studios must take on creative consultants of the original films and they must try their absolute best not to steer far away from their fundamental narrative only then a remake is worthy of the film’s tribute.

If you liked this article feel free to share it, If you wish to follow me on Twitter: @georgestavrinou

Feel free to add your own suggestions below along with any comments you might have.