Alejandro González Iñárritu was born in Mexico City on August 15, 1963 to Hector González Gama and Luz María Iñárritu. Though raised in middle class neighborhood in downtown Mexico City their family was shaken when his successful father, a banker, declared bankruptcy, forcing them into lesser circumstances. His father, however, reinvented himself by becoming a fruit and vegetable vendor to restaurants which provided the family with stability and a steady income. Some favorite film memories for the future director included Prietenii (1971) (aka "Friends"), Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) and Milos Forman's Hair (1979). His literary influences included many of the Latin novelists such as Julio Cortázar and Jorge Luis Borges, enjoying the non-linear narrative and the magic realism sometimes used.
In 1984, while studying communications at Universidad Iberoamericana, Iñárritu became a radio host at a rock-and-roll station, WFM, putting on a three-hour talk show which included sketches and commentary, not only of music, but of politics and pop culture as well. In 1988 he became the director of the station.
Claiming he has always been a frustrated musician, with a better ear than an eye, he simultaneously composed soundtracks for six Mexican feature films, including Garra de tigre (1989).
But the dramatic urge persisted and he studied theater for three years including time with the Polish film director Ludwik Margules.
In the nineties he created the production company Zeta Films with Raul Olvera. This involved Iñárritu in even more creative aspects of entertainment, including writing, editing, and directing and he created 30, 60 and 90-second spots for TV, as well as TV pilots. Iñárritu wrote, produced and directed a half-length feature in 1995, Detrás del dinero, which follows the fate of a one hundred dollar bill, that aired on national TV.
He met Guillermo Arriaga in 1996 and the collaborated to weave together several disparate story lines into the film, Amores Perros (2000). It was a critical and commercial success, introduced Gael García Bernal to the world and, along with the arrival of the works of Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón, created a Renaissance in Mexican film, an industry that had been proclaimed dead by some, just a few years earlier.
Iñárritu and Arriaga worked together twice more. First on 21 Grams (2003) (which was described as the weight lost upon death, with the implication that it's the weight of the soul) starring Melissa Leo, Benicio Del Toro, Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. Del Toro and Watts received Academy Award nominations for their performances.
Their next project was the international film, Babel (2006), comprising four stories set in Morocco, Mexico, the United States, and Japan, in four different time frames. The film starred Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and, much like Amores Perros, introduced some new actors such as Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi to audiences. Babel earned Iñárritu the Best Director Prize (Prix de la mise en scène) at the 2006 Cannes film festival, won Best Motion Picture: Drama at the Golden Gloves, and received seven nominations at the 79th annual Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director and winning for Best Original Score (which went to composer Gustavo Santaolalla).
The creation of Babel, a film about the need for reconciliation and communication, ironically lead to the dissolution of the collaboration between Ariagga and Iñárritu. Even before Cannes Arriaga had started a personal campaign stating that screenwriters and directors should share credit as the auteur in the film industry. So bad was the blood between the two that Arriaga was dis-invited to the Cannes 2006 premiere of the film. Almost a year later, as the accolades continued to stack up and authorship continued to be contested, a letter was published in February 2007 in a Mexican magazine called Chilango. It was signed by Iñárritu, actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Adriana Barraza, and compose Santaolalla, wherein the signatory parties criticized Arriaga for having an "unjustified obsession with claiming credit for the entire film," and not recognizing that "filmmaking is an art of profound collaboration."
Iñárritu himself has added to the efforts of several compilations and multi-segment/multi-themed efforts including: . creating the fifth short (Powder Keg (2001)) in the BMW The Hire series along with Ang Lee, Kar Wai Wong, Guy Ritchie and John Frankenheimer. . directing a segment of the independent feature September 11 (2002), a collective movie about the influence of the events of 9-11 on the world, along with Wim Wenders, Ken Loach, Mira Nair, Amos Gitai and Sean Penn. His short included the phone calls of people from the collapsing World Trade Center buildings. . directing the short film, ANNA, part of the 60th anniversary of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, inside To Each His Own Cinema (2007), a series of shorts by 33 world-renown film directors such as Roman Polanski, Abbas Kiarostami, the Coen brothers, Theo Angelopoulos, David Cronenberg, the Dardenne brothers, Manoel de Oliveria, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Aki Kaurismaki, Takeshi Kitano, David Lynch, Nanni Moretti, Gus Van Sant, Lars Von Trier, Wim Wenders, and Zhang Yimou. . directing Write the Future, a football-themed commercial for Nike ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which featured famous footballers Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Franck Ribéry, Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Fabio Cannavaro, Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué, Cesc Fàbregas, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, tennis player Roger Federer, basketball player Kobe Bryant, the famous cartoon character Homer Simpson, and long-time González Iñárritu collaborator Gael García Bernal, among several others.
In 2008, he produced the feature film Rudo y Cursi (2008), a comedy-drama directed by Carlos Cuarón (brother of the director Alfonso Cuarón) in which Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna play brothers who are professional soccer players and fierce, though loving, rivals. The film was a commercial success in Mexico.
In 2010 Iñárritu's film Biutiful (2010) starring 'Javier Bardem' (qvL, won Bardem the award for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, which also started an avalanche of other nominations throughout the year including a Goya win and an Academy Best Actor nod. Biutiful was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year as well.
He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife María Eladia Hagerman de González and their two children María Eladia and Eliseo
|Maria Eladia||(? - present) 2 children|
Music from composer Gustavo Santaolalla
Uses cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto in all his films
Frequently casts Gael García Bernal
Films frequently involve tragic events (accident, death) bringing together different characters.
Complex overlapping storylines which can span entire cities or even continents
His characters are often trying to atone for past misdeeds
Recurring examination of Language and its effect on human interaction
Stories are often told in a non linear structure
His characters are often unsympathetic and prone to mistakes
His characters are often criminals or engage in illegal activities and often try to atone for Them
Uses very little Music to keep his films realistic.
Children: Maria Eladia and Eliseo.
Very first Mexican to receive an Oscar-nomination for Best Director.
In 2007, he was one of 10 Mexican Oscar-nominees. The others were Adriana Barraza, Guillermo Arriaga, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo Navarro, Emmanuel Lubezki, Eugenio Caballero, Alex Rodríguez and Fernando Cámara.
Was part of the jury of the 2007 Venice Film Festival.
"(On why did he not record an audio commentary for 21 Grams (2003)) I don't like them. I feel that if you have to explain something, it loses strength. It's like a magician trying to explain his magic, in a way. Those kind of things make me feel like I've lost something special about the film. The film should explain itself".
Directing non-actors is difficult. Directing actors in a foreign language is even more difficult. Directing non-actors in a language that you yourself don't understand is the craziest thing you can possibly think of. But I would do it again in a minute.
My cinema is an extension of myself. A sort of life-testimony of my vital experience, with my few virtues and my numerous limitations.
One gets lost easily when he is seeking so many things in this carnival of memories of intense moments and beautiful people. Places so far away, so exotic, cultures that are so different from each other. So many human experiences on an emotional level, on an intellectual and spiritual level. So much intensity, so much beauty... Not only can one get lost, but where do you store all those wonderful things? My heart is heavy with all this beauty and nostalgia of knowing that it will soon be lost forever and never be lived again.
I think that in order to be a film director, one has to be a warrior who shouldn't be defeated by the daily onslaught of problems. We are all hanging by threads and are the mercy of various elements, if one fails the whole flight could come crashing down, and like a good warrior I'm not going to break down.
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