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Uxbal, single father of two children, finds his life in chaos as he is forced to deal with his life in order to escape the heat of crime in underground Barcelona, to break with the love for the divorced, manic depressive, abusive mother of his children and to regain spiritual insight in his life as he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Written by
"Biutiful" is a sublime and intense epic - and possibly the best film of the year by a long way. Even though the setting is very different, the film shares themes with "American Beauty", and it succeeds in creating something close to a modern myth. It tells the story of Uxbal, who is a tough but loving single father of two young children, separated from his self-destructive bi-polar wife, Marambra. He scrapes a living in the backstreet black economy of Barcelona, where he operates as a middleman for those who exploit illegal immigrant labor. In addition to his dubious worldly talents, Uxbal possesses the psychic gift to convey messages from the recently deceased to their grieving relatives - and sometimes he compromises his principles by accepting payment for this service. Uxbal's discordant way of life reflects the essential human condition - trapped between the spiritual and material worlds - and when he learns that he is terminally ill with cancer, it seems as if his body must be manifesting his inner conflict. After his doctor informs him of his imminent death, Uxbal begins searching for a trustworthy person to raise his two children after he dies - and "Biutiful" tells of his struggle to put his affairs in order and accomplish this apparently impossible task while dark forces throw obstacles in his path. Those who have seen Inarritu's previous film "Amores Perros" will find themselves in familiar territory as Uxbal weaves his way through a labyrinth of mean streets and desperate people battling for survival. On the surface there is only the selfishness and brutality of a dog-eat-dog world, alleviated by brief moments of tenderness and self-sacrifice - but hidden amongst the chaos, one can perceive the age-old journey of the immortal hero towards liberation.
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