Thoughts on Inarritu's cinema, more specifcally his visual style

In the last decade he's directed two Oscar-heralded movies ("Birdman" and "The Revenant"), but Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has been making movies for almost two decades now. 

His unique visual style and grim subject matters have made an impact on cinema ever since his astonishing 2000 debut "Amores Perros" (translated to "Love is a Bitch.") He doesn't shy away from making you feel the suffering and emotional of his characters, and boy do they suffer: in "Biutiful" Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is a father of two, with a manic depressive wife, living in a crime-riden Barcelona, that finds out he has terminal cancer. In "21 Grams" Paul (Sean Penn) is a terminally ill mathematician that strikes a friendship with the grieving Cristina (Naomi Watts) who has just lost a child. "Babel" had a Japanese girl dealing with rejection, the death of her mother, and a disability and, of course, last year's "The Revenant" had an Oscar-winning Leonardo Dicaprio getting torturted, mauled, shot, frozen and stabbed. Welcome to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's world where almost no one can escape the wrath of every day life. 

His focus on stark, honest, and frequently brutal side of humanity could be seen as ponderous or even pretentious by some, but Inarritu surrounded it all with an immaculate palette of visual wonder. The gritty, handheld filmmaking that invaded the first half of his career, alongside his four-film partnership with cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto ("Amores Perros," "21 Grams", "Babel" and "Bitutiful") conjured up images that were as ugly as they were beautiful. There was a titilating sense of out of controlness to his camera that lent itself exceptionally well to the content.of the story. His use of color during this time-period was very interesting, with a red-soaked imagery influenced by the magical realism of Latin American literature.  


Then came along "Birdman" and "The Revenant", but more importantly, his newly-formed partnership with cinematographer extraordinaire Emmanuel Lubezki. To say this enhanced the visual imagery that Inarritu could convey through his camera would be an understatement. Lubezki brought a whole new level of artistry to Inarritu's art with rhythmic long takes and surrealist imagery.  Their use of visual elements mixed with special FX created something horrifying, engaging, and kind of beautiful that also never felt forced.  What they created was a new language for cinema, one in which the cinematographer had as much of a role in the creative process as the director.


A well-crafted video edit of the work Inarritu has done these past 16 years was created by Vulgar Efendi Films. It juxtaposes the haunting beauty that comes with the Mexican-born director's work. It's a well-done summation and tribute to a filmmaker that continues to try and break boundaries with his craft and produce one artistic statement after another. 

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