Alejandro González Iñárritu is still picking up awards in the wake of the Oscar-winning “Birdman.” Tuesday night he was on hand in Los Angeles for the Sundance Institute Celebration, honoring him with the Vanguard Leadership Award, and his comments on the state of film and entertainment were as pointed as they were in the text of last year's Best Picture winner.
“Some people are now calling films 'content,' or even 'the pipeline,'” he said after accepting the award from “Selma” director Ava DuVernay. “Yes, like the ones used for the conveyance of gas or petroleum for its mass consumption. A great amount of films produced every year are considered that: content to fill the corporate pipelines.”
His and his co-writers' Oscar-winning original screenplay for “Birdman” took Hollywood to task in its own way with a portrait of ego and the drive to create something of value. The story of a movie star famous for playing a superhero who is struggling to put on a substantive Broadway production, the film took its share of swipes at the status quo of corporate-driven cinema.
“Only humans are the ones who see themselves in the mirror,” González Iñárritu said. “We do it because we need it. The mirror of our species, that is cinema, or that was. And that's unique. When someone pours their uniqueness out, it creates the real content, the fire that only humans know how to ignite. That's a miracle. That fire can come from the freedom of one single human being brave enough to reveal themselves without shame and most importantly without fear of not being 'entertaining' or being measured by the cruel emperor of profit.”
“Everything has to be fast, spectacular,” he continued. “Do not disturb me. Do not make me think or feel or take me from my comfort zone. Just heal my pain, loneliness or frustration with an anesthetic: entertain me. We perceive the increasing devaluation of this beautiful language every day.”
Currently the director is wrapping up production on “The Revenant,” which is set to hit theaters later this year and will potentially be a part of the awards conversation like “Birdman.”
You can view González Iñárritu's full speech in the video above.