Five-time Academy Award®-winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu debuts his latest film, Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths. Bardo is an epic, visually stunning and immersive experience that follows a renowned Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker who returns home and works through an existential crisis as he grapples with his identity, familial relationships and the folly of his memories.
Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu co-composed the original score with Bryce Dessner to accompany the profoundly moving journey. This is the latest collaboration between Dessner and Iñárritu, the duo having previously worked together on The Revenant soundtrack in 2015.
Of the soundtrack’s inception, composer Bryce Dessner says, “Early in the process of Bardo and before shooting began, Alejandro and I began talking about what the music for the film could sound like. What might the melody of the film be? What sounds would we hear in the world of Bardo? We started exchanging ideas, including field recordings and melodies Alejandro would whistle to himself, first on scouting locations and later on set as he began to shoot the film. These fragments of melodic ideas along with the sketches I had begun making would start to take seed and grow into the vast musical landscape that envelopes the film. Eventually we met in Los Angeles to work directly as we finished the details of each composition.”
Oscillating between bombastic, horn-soaked numbers and buoyant, orchestral string arrangements, the soundtrack draws upon Mexico’s rich musical tradition, incorporating everything from ancestral sounds to the rhythms of salsa and cumbia and the brass melodies of Oaxacan banda music. The expansiveness of Bardo’s musical landscape is further evidenced by the several needledrops featured in the film, which range from David Bowie’s iconic “Let’s Dance” to contributions from salsa pioneers Héctor Lavoe and Willie Colón, Mexican pop icon José José, “The King of Cumbia” Andrés Landero, conga drummer Joe Cuba and more.
“The music moves between very simple brass pieces, to very layered complex orchestral and electronic pieces and everywhere in between,” DESSNER continues. “We recorded the score in Mexico at the beautiful Sony Music Studios in Mexico City and Topetitud Studio in Coyocan. The process of recording the music for Bardoand working with amazing Mexican musicians, including Brass bands from Oaxaca and musicians from the National Symphony, in the studio was an incredible joy for me and something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Bardo is now playing in select theaters and debuts on Netflix December 16.