Monday, August 22, 2011

The Not So "Biutiful" Side of Barcelona -- A Meltingpot Movie Review

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

I found it quite perfect that just when I'd convinced myself that Barcelona was calling my name, I decided to watch the movie Biutiful, starring Javier Bardem. I was desperate and in a rush when I selected the film from the video store, but I love Javier and I knew the movie took place in Barcelona, so I rented it.

I made el esposo watch it with me because I figured if Barcelona was going to be our new "home" we should both see what we were in for. Ha! My bad. If you ever want to convince someone to steer clear of Barcelona, then this is the movie to watch.

In a nutshell, the film presents the underground struggle for survival by Barcelona's (illegal) immigrant communities. Javier Bardem plays the down-on-his-luck Spaniard with a heart who nonetheless makes a living by brokering crappy work situations for the illegals. And there is a bit of the paranormal involved in the film as well. I am totally simplifying the plot because I don't want to give anything away, but I will say bring your tissues and a strong stomach to the film.

I walked away from the movie even more impressed by Bardem's acting abilities but with a more realistic vision of Barcelona. It's a city, like any other big city, with big city problems. I don't know why I forgot this when fantasizing about a move there. So, I have to thank the filmmakers for that, as well as for the nightmares I've had for the last two days!

El esposo still hasn't forgiven me for making him watch the movie. But a wise woman once told me that it is the purpose of good art to make us uncomfortable. So using that as my guide, Biutiful was an excellent piece of art. And I have to say, from a Meltingpot perspective, it was great to see a movie that takes place in Spain but featured Black and Asian characters.

I am happy I watched it, but I can't say I enjoyed it. Did anyone else see Biutiful? What did you think?

I'm listening.


P.S. A note about comments: Dear readers, I am reading every single one of your comments and enjoying them immensely. But these days with babygirl, it is so hard to get even a minute to write so I'm not responding as I'd like to. But please know I read every single comment and do my head :) Keep 'em coming please and I'll slowly swing back to answering back. Thank you!!!


rhapsodyinbooks said...

We went on a trip to Madrid and Barcelona last year, and the cities were amazingly CLEAN and the architecture was outrageously beautiful and visually stimulating, and it seemed like an inordinate amount of women are gorgeous and men are handsome. But (to give you possibly other reasons not to go there) cigarette smoking was everywhere, and they don't eat dinner till 8:30 or 9. (okay, okay, it was hard to find negatives!)

Ola said...

I saw Biutiful about 2 weekends ago and I loved it. Javier's performance is wonderful. I've noticed this odd thing in my life lately where all the books and movies I see are very "realistic" portrayals of life and there is not always a happy ending(I’m still a sucker for a happy ending). And I think that's why I enjoyed the movie. I thought of you when I was watching it b/c it was featured such strong characters from different races. I also think that played a large role in why I loved it …...I’m starting to get bored when i see a film or read a book and there is no mention of anyone from a different race or

It's funny how I didn't even think about Barcelona at all during the film. I really was focused on the characters and relationships. I feel the story could have been set in any major city. But Barcelona can be looked at as its own character in the film too......
I've never been but it has always been a dream of mine to visit.

Alicia said...

I saw the movie a while ago and I liked it. It's a very depressing film and unfortunately VERY real too. I lived in Spain and know how hard is the life of an immigrant. I've seen women from South America with high education working as prostitutes, cleaning toilets, and being abused just because they were illegals. Very sad.

Jay said...

I just got Biutiful in the mail and plan to watch it this weekend .. Thanks for tell me about this movie :)

Anonymous said...

there shouldn't be any illegals in the first place.