So much can happen in 22 minutes. A Seattle-based psychiatrist can host a dinner party to impress a member of high society. A different Seattle-based psychiatrist can end up on an accidental date with his spacey crush. A crotchety retired Seattle cop can find common ground with his psychiatrist sons. Sometimes, all three of these things can happen in one 22-minute span. But director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu apparently had a full three-act story’s worth of footage to cut from his upcoming film, Bardo (or a False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths) after screening a three-hour version at the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals to less-than-stellar feedback. Iñárritu told IndieWire that the Venice screening was “a nice opportunity to see it and learn about things that could benefit from being tied up a bit, add one scene that never arrived on time, and move the order of one or two things.”
The film’s trailer suggests that even with 22 fewer minutes, there is plenty crammed into this film, including marching bands, soldiers, discos, childbirth, axolotls, a flooded apartment, stigmata of the feet, and long airport lines. The dreamlike footage is cut to “I Am the Walrus” and is just about as interpretable as that nonsense verse. Bardo will be released in select theaters and on Netflix on December 16. The same date as Avatar: The Way of Water? Okay, good luck with that!