Breathless reporting on standing ovations is not the only quantitative metric utilized during film festival season. There’s also how many minutes directors shave off of their films after seeing audience and critical reception. The latest in this category is Alejandro G. Iñarritu’s Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, which premiered in a nearly three-hour version and now has been retooled with 22 minutes spliced out.
IndieWire reports this new cut, running 2 hours and 32 minutes sans credits, will premiere at San Sebastián Film Festival, and the filmmaker opened up about the decision. “The first time I saw my film was with 2,000 people in Venice,” he said. “That was a nice opportunity to see it and learn about things that could benefit from being tied up a bit, add one scene that never arrived on time, and move the order of one or two things. Little by little, I tightened it, and I am very excited about it.” He added this may not even be the final cut of the film. “Honestly, I will keep doing this until it’s released to get the best film while I can,” he added. “You never finish a film. The deadlines just ask you to deliver it.”
Luke Hicks said in his review, “When it’s all said and done—the technical marvels elucidated, the stylistic flare appreciated, the wide-eyed self-reflection given a fair shake in retaliation to the all-too-easy critique of self-indulgence—I can’t help but wince a little at the thought of a second watch. If it’ll be great to revisit certain sequences, the thought of stomaching all three hours again so soon is grueling. In time, sure. But in the aftermath Bardo feels like an open wound that should’ve been sutured shut (read: edited). Then again, what do we expect from a doctor performing surgery on himself? “
The new trailer has also premiered via IndieWire, cut by Mark Woolen and featuring The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus.” Watch below.
Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths) premiered at the Venice Film Festival before arriving in U.S. theaters on November 18 and Netflix on December 16.