How ‘Bardo’ Turns Collapsing Into Choreography

Alejandro G. Iñárritu narrates a sequence from his Netflix film “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths,” where multiple people drop to the ground in Mexico City.

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By Mekado Murphy

In “Anatomy of a Scene,” we ask directors to reveal the secrets that go into making key scenes in their movies. See new episodes in the series on Fridays. You can also watch our collection of more than 150 videos on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

In one of the many ambitious scenes from “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths” (streaming on Netflix), the lead character, Silverio Gama (Daniel Giménez Cacho), comes across a woman who has collapsed on a Mexico City sidewalk. Most passers-by don’t seem to notice her. When someone asks if she is dead, she replies, “I’m not dead. I’m missing.” Soon after, other individuals, one by one, begin collapsing on the sidewalk and in the streets. By the end of this fever dream of a sequence, hundreds of people are on the ground.

Narrating the moment, the director Alejandro G. Iñárritu said he wanted to call attention to the thousands of Mexicans who have gone missing over the last decade. He said the scene required 300 extras along with 20 dancers who, guided by the choreography of Priscila Hernández, fell in a precise way that seemed like a dangerous collapse.

Read the review of “Bardo.”

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