Javier Bardem moves Cannes crowd in "Biutiful"

Mon May 17, 2010 10:01am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Death stalks the cast of "Biutiful," Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's moving portrayal of a father rushing to put his chaotic life in order before it is too late.

Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem plays the central role in a Spanish-language drama set in the back streets of Barcelona, where immigrant workers live in squalor and struggle to survive in a world where they are treated like animals.

Bardem's character Uxbal is part criminal hustler, part clairvoyant who has visions of people beyond their grave, but he is above all a father whose two children are torn between him and their negligent, clinically depressed mother.

Warm applause and plenty of tears at a press screening on Monday at the Cannes film festival, where the movie is in the main competition, suggest it is one of the early favorites for awards, with Bardem in the frame for best actor.

Asked how he found the experience of playing a man troubled by ghosts, ill health and the mess of his personal and professional life, Bardem replied:

"You've seen the movie, right? It's intense. So the process has been very intense, but it's been also very rewarding in the sense of going to places where an actor has to grow up as a professional."

He added: "This is ... intense, but there is hope in every gesture that he does toward the human beings that surround him, the kids, the immigrants the wife."

FIRST SINCE BABEL   Continued...