The Moya View

Bardo: A False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths- Getting Caught in Self Deception’s Indulgent Purgatory

Courtesy of Netflix

Plot via IMDB:

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths is an epic, visually stunning and immersive experience set against the intimate and moving journey of Silverio, a renowned Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker living in Los Angeles, who, after being named the recipient of a prestigious international award, is compelled to return to his native country, unaware that this simple trip will push him to an existential limit. The folly of his memories and fears pierce through to the present, filling his everyday life with a sense of bewilderment and wonder. With both emotion and abundant laughter, Silverio grapples with universal yet intimate questions about identity, success, mortality, the history of Mexico and the deeply emotional familial bonds he shares with his wife and children. Indeed, what it means to be human in these very peculiar times

Every filmmaker has to get this big one out of their system. The film that deals with self- past, present and future. Most directors only get to the first- the past. Steven Spielberg’s haunting ode to his childhood, The Fabelmans, is last year’s most recently acclaimed and Academy Award nominated example. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, being the more ambitious and introspective of this generations directors, is compelled to take on all three. Being Latin American, the opus of his life must be coated in a magical realism tinge. It also must be long, complicated, self-important and appear deep even if it’s just shallow and self-indulgent. Lastly, it must be handsomely filmed, so that an Academy Award nomination for best cinematography be enough compensation and recognition for the great director’s failed intellectual effort.

Courtesy of Netflix

Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths is Iñárritu’s unsuccessful effort to catalog all of the above. Bigger ambition doesn’t necessarily mean bigger success. Sometimes it just means getting stuck in that halfway state between life and death, success and failure. It just mean getting stuck in the bardo, the grand area of mediocrity where every soul must dwell. Greatness even good is not meant for every piece of art. Sometimes, that’s just ok, in the words of Mr. Rogers. Those who attempt the bardo will know only the bardo and be content with the bardo.

Courtesy of Netflix

The Iñárritu stand-in, the docufiction filmmaker Silverio, (Daniel Giménez Cacho) even attempts to critique proof his work. A frenemy criticizes his project for being pretentious, self-important and shallow. The put down is flippant, a self-indulgent meanness that doesn’t reflect well on its creator. The fact that this psychobabble is both artfully and deceptively well staged doesn’t add to the shallowness at its core. It could be argued that it unintentionally proves it.

Courtesy of Netflix

Bardo’s opening images of the shadow of a man running and jumping through the desert serves as a metaphor for the cosmic leapfrog that is the film’s constant organizing principle. Here, babies willfully demand they be put back in their mothers’s womb until they are ready to face the world. The rest of Bardo obey its own poetic and thematic logic over plot demands. It compulsively grabs like that infant at thematic elements from Silverio’s life- meditations on love, loss, Mexican identity, his own inadequacies, his internal dream logic, and an obsession for stunning imagery for its own sake. There is no obsession or corner of his life that Iñárritu refuses to explore in the most facile way. His blind spots are huge. For some artists, exploring themselves, will always be their worse subject.

Courtesy of Netflix

The cliché encounters with the past, the self-congratulatory philosophical musings about work, wealth, ambition, artistic respect and public acclaim are always mired in Iñárritu’s unseen bardo. His success has made his biggest failure possible. The unresolved conflicts that animated his filmmaking- the self doubt that made him great yields to the delusions of a druggie high on his own high, not knowing a bad trip or idea from good ones.

Courtesy of Netflix

Bardo gets a 2.5 out of 5 or a C+.


SpanishBardo, falsa crónica de unas cuantas verdades

Directed by

Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Written by

Produced by

  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu
  • Stacy Perskie Kaniss



Darius Khondji

Edited byA

lejandro G. Iñárritu

Music by


  • M Productions
  • Redrum

Distributed by


Release dates

  • September 1, 2022(Venice)
  • October 27, 2022(Mexico)

Running time

159 minutes




  • Spanish
  • English

Courtesy of Netflix





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