A Biutiful city: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s filmic critique of the ‘Barcelona model’ | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1478-0488
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0608


This article launches an urban reading of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2010 film Biutiful. The case is made that the film functions as a complement to theoretical critiques of urbanism such as that of Lefebvrian theorist Manuel Delgado Ruiz, specifically. The director’s choice of Barcelona for the location of the film’s diegetic action as well as for the place of its production makes it possible to read the struggles of immigrant and marginalized characters against the widespread, triumphant image of Barcelona as a ‘model’ European destination city in extra-filmic discourse. Moreover, this article argues there is a necessary relationship between the film’s primary urban theme – analysed at the levels of both content and form – and its numerous secondary elements, including a supernatural narrative arc.


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