Inarritu’s ‘Biutiful’ Lands at Roadside and Liddell

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Javier Bardem in Biutiful
Photo: Roadside Attractions and Liddell Entertainment

There’s been word for some time now that Roadside Attractions was going to land domestic distribution rights to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful and I just received a press release indicating that is indeed the case, though Mickey Liddell’s Liddell Entertainment is also in on the deal.

The film will have its North American debut at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, but I saw it in Cannes and in my review declared Javier Bardem’s performance as Uxbal a sure-fire Best Actor contender. Of course, the film itself received luke warm reviews (read my “A” review right here) and wasn’t picked up out of the festival, which led to much speculation.

Biutiful is a hard film to describe, which is obvious based simply on the description accompanying today’s press release declaring it a story of a conflicted man struggling to reconcile fatherhood, family, love, remorse, spirituality, crime, seduction, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona. There’s a lot going on and to pin it down to one thing is damn near impossible.

Like most of Inarritu’s films this one is about as down in the dumps as you can get, but the one thing that struck me coming out of it was the uplifting spirit of its ending, something I never got out of the director’s previous work including 21 Grams or Babel.

Now Roadside and Liddell plan on a December 2010 release and an obvious Oscar campaign for Bardem’s performance will be mounted. Of course, like Magnolia’s recent acquisition of Andrew Jarecki’s All Good Things, Roadside isn’t exactly a studio with a major budget and they already have 2010’s early stand-out Winter’s Bone to consider along with its breakout star Jennifer Lawrence, who at the moment, seems like a definite Best Actress nominee.

Will there be enough For Your Consideration dollars to mount to acting campaigns? Will press soon warm to Inarritu’s picture even though the Croisette reception was tepid at best?

Below is an early promo trailer for Biutiful that’s been online for some time.