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Javier Bardem in "Biutiful"

So much difficulty, so much pain in the scenes between characters on screen
Yet so much beauty in the visuals of city between
And of course Javier Bardem whose open soul is there for all to see

To best represent darkness, to see its true depths you need some light
What makes this film so harrowing is the very humanity of its characters
There is no pure evil
There is hope

Films that portray darkness for its own sake, or worse still for the sake of manipulating the audience aren't the soul food I go to the arts for. For this reason I can't stand Lars Von Trier. Dancer in the Dark was a brilliant movie. A brilliant movie. It's also, to my mind, profoundly sadistic. It makes Black Swan seem tame in comparison. Speaking of, for all its brilliant craft and the best actor award Natalie Portman deserves to win, despite all that I didn't love Black Swan the way so many others did. But not because it wasn't brilliantly constructed. It was.

The artist is everywhere in their art. And who that artist is and what they stand for is as important to me as the work itself.

For this reason I love the books of Haruki Murakami, for the man's generosity, for his complexity and most of all for his humility. For this reason I love Javier Bardem and keep thinking about Biutiful.

This film is not being dark just to mess with the audience. It is not darkness for its own sake. The shocks and horrors aren't just sensational. They aren't just horror movie thrills. It's the humanity beneath the harrowing. It's the humanity despite the suffering.

For all these reasons I recommend Biutiful.