5/6/14: Biutiful


When I was 29, I started pissing blood. The first time, there was a lot; after that, it was consistent, but less considerable & accompanied by a good deal of discomfort. I was convinced I had prostate cancer & my son, who was only 2 at the time, wouldn’t remember me at all. And still, like many men, I did nothing. Then my wife noticed spotting in my underwear, FREAKED out, and made an appointment for me with our primary care physician, Dr. Caporaso. “‘When did the symptoms start?’, he asked, while examining me. ‘I don’t know. A couple months ago.’. He finished up pretty quickly & said, ‘You can get dressed. Why didn’t you come sooner?’. ‘Cindy didn’t know. She made me come.’, I admitted. ‘I’m 99% certain that you don’t have cancer,’, Dr. told me, ‘but to eliminate that 1%, I’m going to send you for a couple tests anyway.’. ‘I need to know what will happen, Doc.’ ‘It depends on how you react to the antibiotics. So much time has passed that the infection is severe, the dosage will have to be strong for at least 2 weeks, and may make you sick & constipated.’ ‘As long as the pain goes away & the bleeding stops.’ ‘It will. Don’t worry. If the oral medication doesn’t work, we’ll put you briefly on intravenous antibiotics, then maintain the oral treatment for a couple of months’” The best possible news! The diagnosis: Acute prostatitis followed by lifelong chronic prostatitis! I wouldn’t call it chronic per se. It’s infrequent but when it reappears, it’s a pain in the ba…never mind.

Biutiful - Caporaso

Anyway, Alejandro González Iñárritus’ Biutiful stars Javier Bardem as Uxbal [Ewks-vaal], a Barcelonian single Dad with exactly the condition I feared I had & which terrified me so, a quarter century ago. This is not the erudite Barcelona of Vicky Cristina, but rather the poor, seedy side of town: Fine wine & poetry & art & Gaudi have given way to melted ice cream & bribery & quartz crystals & strippers. Uxbal can talk to ghosts and he does so for the loved ones of the deceased for a price to supplement his income. He’s an agent for the goods made by Chinese illegal aliens living in squalor in the basement of a warehouse factory, where they pirate DVD’s & CD’s and make knock-off designer handbags & the like. One of his salesmen, Ekweme (Cheikh Ndiaye [Chee`-uk Nuh-day`]), is a Senegali illegal married to Ige [Ee-hey`] (Diaryatou Daff’s only feature). Uxbal is separated from his bipolar, slutty, abusive, alcoholic wife, Marambra [Ma-ahm-brruh] (Maricel Álvarez). They have 2 kids together: 5 or 6 year old Mateo (Guillermo Estrella), who still wets his bed on occasion; and a pre-tween daughter, Ana (Hanaa Bouchaib’s only film). Ana is more mature than her mother.

Biutiful - JavierBiutiful - VickyBiutiful - BarcelonaBiutiful - EkwemeBiutiful - IgeBiutiful - MarambraBiutiful - Kids

Biutiful was Rated R for disturbing images, language, and some sexual content, drug usage & nudity (topless women). Unlike most motion pictures, it was shot in order, from the first chronological scene to the last. I call it circularly. Think about why if you watch the film. The film was nominated for 2 Oscars in 2011 at the 83rd Academy Awards: Best Actor, the only such nomination for a role entirely in Spanish; and Best Foreign Language Film. It’s full of symbolism, in particular, of animals: There are multiple images of fish out of water (many of the characters are fish out of water, including Uxbal & the illegals); owls, which represent wisdom, are said to spit hairballs out of their beaks when they die, as if to expurgate all earthly filth from their being before moving on; and ants in the apartment, representing poverty. Perhaps, after you watch it, you’ll be able to determine what the huge flock of birds flying away together in Act II and the repeated images of moths on the ceiling of Uxbal’s apartment might represent. For now, watch the trailer to Alejandro González Iñárritus’ beautiful Biutiful below. If my Blog of it didn’t make you want to stream it on Netflix – and I know it did – then the trailer surely will! 4 Stars!

Biutiful - Owl


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