a cura diF.D.S.
  • saturday, 3 september 2022

Usually, in films as animated and eventful as this one is with their frenzied editing and incessant actor interaction, the musical score is internal to the film itself – in technical terms, it is background music, not incidental music. Hyper-cinetic cinema (Altman, Kusturica its champions) musical themes do not comment the action, but are born of it and are essential to it. This is the case of Bardo, whose score has been composed by Iñárritu himself and Bryce Dessner, leader of rock band The National as well as skilled composer of chamber and symphony. In a film where the subconscious, memories, and history necessarily intersect to create a path alternating between autobiography and reflection on history (the reference to 8½ doesn’t seem all that fitting), its score offers a number of high-level prompts and cues. These might be the bass, tuba, and trumpet counterpoint at the beginning, or the nocturnal motif that we hear as Silverio Gama runs after his wife in their home (it sounds a bit like the Herrmann’s theme for Vertigo, doesn’t it?), or the song by David Bowie in Let’s Dance, prompting all present to cut a rug – all musical segment offers a level of interpretation of the scene oscillating between black humour, anxiety, disorientation. At the end of the movie, we’ll find the same desert we saw at the start, and the same brass theme we heard, proof of a circularity that is the key to understand the film: the continual back-and-forth between Mexico and American, between homeland and dreamland.