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Alejandro G. Iñárritu Gets Teary-Eyed as Three-Hour ‘Bardo’ Nabs Four-Minute Standing Ovation in Venice

Alejandro G. Iñárritu Gets Teary-Eyed as Three-Hour ‘Bardo’ Nabs Four-Minute Standing Ovation in Venice thumbnail

Will “Bardo” be Alejandro González Iñárritu’s third best director Oscar in a row following “Birdman” and “The Revenant” wins? It’s a question many were asking heading into the Venice Film Festival, where the Netflix-backed “Bardo” world premiered in competition. 

The three-hour-long drama, which wrapped at 12: 15 a.m. Venice time, earned a standing ovation of just over four minutes at the Sala Grande. A number of audience members began leaving before the movie ended given the late hour, but the vast majority stayed to applaud the helmer.

Iñárritu was visibly moved by the reception to his film, certainly one of his most personal efforts to date, and had tears in his eyes as he embraced his cast and producers.

The film, which has drawn comparisons to Federico Fellini’s opus “8 1/2,” has so far garnered mixed reviews, but the Venice audience largely stayed with the film, delighting in Iñárritu’s visual spectacles that were at times meandering but often profound and affecting.

Written by Iñárritu and Nicolás Giacobone, who previously collaborated on Oscar winner “Birdman,” “Bardo” chronicles the story of a Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker, who returns home and works through an existential crisis as he grapples with his identity and family relationships. The film stars Daniel Giménez Cacho and Griselda Siciliani. Notably, “Bardo” marks Iñárritu’s return to Mexico since his breakout  feature directorial debut “Amores perros.”

“Bardo” is Iñárritu’s first Venice Film Festival world premiere. Netflix has several movies debuting at Venice in addition to “Bardo.” The streamer’s other debuts include Noah Baumach’s “White Noise” and Andrew Dominik’s “Blonde.” All three films are competing for the Golden Lion.

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“Alejandro is one of the greatest modern filmmakers and one of the leading visionaries in our industry,” said Netflix Head of Global Film Scott Stuber when the streamer picked up the drama. “‘Bardo’ is a cinematic experience that has inspired us to create a release strategy designed for the film to penetrate culture in the biggest and widest way. We will give film lovers everywhere the opportunity to experience the film through a global theatrical release and the film’s worldwide release on Netflix. Having known Alejandro for a long time, I am personally very excited to finally be able to work alongside him and to bring his film to a global audience.”

Iñárritu’s last feature, “The Revenant,” earned 12 Academy Award nominations and won him the best director prize. “Birdman” won Best Picture in 2015 and scored 9 total nominations. It was Iñárritu’s first best director win. Iñárritu’s career has been defined by his collaborations with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezski, but for “Bardo” he teamed up with Darius Khondji.

“Bardo” will debut in theaters and stream on Netflix later this year.

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