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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Biutiful is a 2010 drama film directed, produced and co-written by Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring Javier Bardem. This film was González Iñárritu's first feature since Babel (2006) and fourth overall, and his first film in his native Spanish language since his debut feature Amores perros (2000).

The film was nominated for 2 Academy Awards in 2011: Best Foreign Language and Best Actor for Javier Bardem; his nomination was the first entirely Spanish-language performance to be nominated for the award. Bardem also received the Best Actor Award at Cannes for his work on the film.



The title Biutiful is in reference to the phonological spelling in Spanish of the English word beautiful. The entirety of the film is representing the beauty of life through various difficulties, represented by Uxbal's character played by Javier Bardem.


Uxbal lives in a shabby apartment in Barcelona with his two young children, Ana and Mateo. He is separated from their mother Marambra, who is a woman suffering from alcoholism and bipolar disorder and works as a prostitute. Having grown up an orphan, Uxbal has no family other than his wealthier brother Tito, who works in the construction business (and sometimes solicits the services of Marambra). Uxbal earns a living by procuring work for illegal immigrants, a group of Chinese who make forged designer goods which a group of African street vendors then sell. He is a psychic medium to the dead and is sometimes paid for passing on messages from the recently deceased at wakes and funerals. When he is diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer leaving him with only a few months to live, his world progressively falls apart.

Uxbal initially begins chemotherapy, but he later ends the treatment at the advice of his friend and alternative healer Bea. She also gives him two black stones which she asks him to give his children before he dies. The group of Africans are brutally arrested by the police, despite Uxbal's regular payment of bribes, because they also deal in drugs. When one of them is deported back to Senegal, Uxbal offers his wife Ige and baby son a room in his apartment. Meanwhile, an attempt at reconciliation with Marambra fails when Uxbal realizes she cannot be trusted to look after their children. As the Chinese are out of work, Tito brokers a deal to get them employed at a construction site. However, almost all of them die in the night from carbon monoxide poisoning, as the cheap gas heaters Uxbal bought in an effort to help were not safe. An attempt by a human trafficker to dump the bodies into the sea fails when they are washed up on the shore shortly after, causing a media sensation.

As Uxbal's health continues to deteriorate, he is plagued with guilt that he is responsible for the expulsion of the Senegalese and the death of the Chinese. With his death drawing nearer, he realizes that there will be nobody to take care of Ana and Mateo once he is gone. He entrusts the remainder of his savings to Ige, asking her to stay with the children after his death. She accepts his request but later decides to use the money to return to Africa. At the railway station she changes her mind, however, and returns to the apartment. Knowing that Ige will now take care of his children, Uxbal lies down next to Ana and, after having passed on to her a diamond ring which his father had once given to his mother, he dies. In a snowy winter landscape he is reunited with his father, who had died before Uxbal's birth shortly after having fled Francoist Spain for Mexico.


Biutiful is produced in both Spain and Mexico. The film is produced by Menageatroz, Mod Producciones, Focus Features, Television Espanola, Televisió de Catalunya, Ikiru Films, and Cha Cha Cha Films. Individual producers of the film include Alejandro González Iñárritu, Jon Kilik, Fernando Bovaira, Ann Ruark, and Sandra Hermida. The writers of the film include Alejandro González Iñárritu, Armando Bó, Jr, and Nicolás Giacobone.

The film's model, Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru, is described as a similar structure and morale in The Guardian's article by Philip French. French writes, "the way a middle-aged Japanese civil servant reacts to the news that he has terminal cancer – and transformed it into a profound statement about the human condition."<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Biutiful" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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