Bardo, The False Chronicle of A Handful of Truth Plot Synopsis
Directed and written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Bardo, The False Chronicle of a Handful of Truth is a semi-autobiographical account of the life of director Silverio (Daniel Giménez Cacho). As Silverio prepares to receive his journalism award in the United States, he returns home to Mexico and reflects on the events of his life so far.
What does ‘bardo’ mean?
“Bardo” is a Buddhist term, according to Merriam-Webster, for “the intermediate or astral state of the soul after death and before rebirth.” Iñárritu invokes this term in several ways throughout the film. This refers to the situation of Mateo, son of Silverio, who died; The space between fact and fiction in Silverio’s documentation and Inarritu’s unique storytelling method; and also the ultimate experience of being an immigrant – explored through Silverio’s sense of belonging neither to Mexico nor to the United States
Who is Silverio?
Silverio, the protagonist of Inarritu’s Bardo, is a Los Angeles-based Mexican journalist and documentarian who is about to receive an award for his journalism in the United States. Silverio, who has lived in the United States with his family for many years, is now returning to Mexico to celebrate his award.
As Bardo unfolds the events of Silverio’s life with creative symbolism, he reveals the journalist’s existential crisis. While Silverio deals with the grief of losing his infant son Mateo, he also struggles with impostor syndrome—he deeply feels the criticism his fellow Mexicans have long leveled at white Americans, and combats it by choosing to immigrate to the United States.
Much of what happens in the Bardo is, to paraphrase Silverio’s daughter, “everything that never was.” At the end of Bardo, Silverio suffers a stroke and falls into a coma. The film again invokes the concept of the “bardo,” revealing all the events in Silverio’s life (and, in a sense, Iñárritu’s processing of his life through his fictional character) leading up to this point. Silverio). Events are somewhere between real and unreal.
How does “Bardo” end? Is Silverio dying?
Bardo, The False Chronicle of a Handful of Truth closes with Silverio wandering through the same Mexican desert from the beginning of the film. He first sees his mother, his brothers, and even his dead father. Then his wife and children appear and call him. Silverio continues on and says he’ll see them when he gets back.
Silverio starts running and hopping in the desert again. But this time he did not return to the ground. As his shadow indicates, he walks away. Bardon’s conclusion is being interpreted. Perhaps his leaving his family in the desert is a sign of the end of the coma and his death.
Or, since the entire film takes place inside Silverio’s head while he’s in a coma, his departure could mean the end of the “bardo,” the end of the in-between. Perhaps it is time for rebirth, not life as he knows it, not death.