Before been known for amazing movies like Birdman, Babel, or the Revenant Alejandro was born in Mexico City in the ’60s, at a very young age he started working as a radio host in WFM and he became very famous because of his very creative and funny narration style, later on, he owned a production company called Z films, during this period he met cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, who would later work with him at the beginning of his career.
Alejandro wanted to make a film but realized that he wasn’t ready yet, although he didn’t go to film school he did have great mentors, one of them was Ludwik Margules, a very acclaimed theater teacher and director, after many years of learning and practice he teamed up with very talented people that he had met over the years and started working on his first project.
At age 37, he filmed his first feature AmoresPerros (2000), working with writer Guillermo Arriaga and Rodrigo at the camera; Alejandro has said before that he found a lot of inspiration in filmmakers like Lars Von Trier, Tarkovski, and Wim Wenders.
The filming took place in Mexico City and to this date is known to be one of the most impactful and important films for Mexican cinema, it was very well received by the critics and audience and so he would repeat the same formula of multiple storytellings in 21 grams(2003) and Babel(2006) which earned him best director in Cannes and he also became the first Mexican filmmaker to be nominated at the Oscars for the same award, the event that put him in the spotlight.
After finishing, what many fans like to call ¨the trilogy of dead¨ Alejandro parted ways with writer Guillermo Arriaga, and decided to make a very drastic change of storytelling style, going from an international drama to Biutiful(2010) starring Javier Bardem in one of his most demanding roles, as he played men working in the underground business in Spain who discovers he has cancer and needs to put his life together before dying, this film premiered at Cannes but wasn’t financially successful, making it harder for producers to invest a big amount of money for his next film, Biutiful would also be the last collaboration of Alejandro and Rodrigo Prieto. Who has recently become one of the most talented cinematographers in the industry working with Martin Scorsese?
In 2013 Alejandro turned 50 and has talked about a middle-age crisis in which he took a four year break from filming, but this crisis would lead him into what I like to call his masterpiece Birdman (Or the unexpected virtue of ignorance) (2014), Alejandro was very well known for his intense and heartwarming dramas, so when he approached producers and told them he wanted to make a one-shot, dark comedy, with only drums as the soundtrack and starring the old fashioned Michael Keaton, he really had a hard time finding finance for his film, but fox searchlight pictures and New Regency would give him a chance with a tiny budget.
Alejandro teamed up with Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki to work on what he calls the most challenging of his films at the time, he has also said that the character of Riggan Thomson is in a way a portrayal of himself and the very dark effects that ego can have in your life. This film is Alejandro at his most meta, showing us a one-shot but not really a chronological film in which we even get to see the soundtrack being played at times, this movie took the world as a surprise and earned him three Oscars, including screenplay, director, and best picture.
In 2015, Alejandro surprised the world once again with TheRevenant(2015) starring Leonardo Dicaprio is one of his most iconic roles playing Hugh glass and exploring the effects of revenge and what it means for human beings, this film is practically flawless and be can see how precise is Iñárritu when it comes to staging and developing a scene, whether is a long take or the very purposeful cinematography Alejandro delivered on of the most outstanding films I have ever seen, The Revenant has a strong influence of Tarkovski´s cinema, including many homages during the film. He became with this film the second director in history to win back-to-back Oscars for achievement in directing.
For the past six years, we have yet seen a new film by Alejandro but in 2017, he made a short film called Carne y Arena that implemented virtual reality and takes you on a journey of immigrants who cross the border between Mexico and The United States, Alejandro won a special achievement award in the Oscars for the revolutionary concept.
In the last couple of years, Alejandro has left his mark in the history of filmmaking and is reportedly coming back to Mexico for the filming of his next film and teaming up with Arrival cinematographer Bradford Young, so hopefully, we will get to see a new masterpiece by Alejandro.