Biutiful or the Urban Conditions of a forced flexible Mobility

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More than any other recent urban film, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful (MX/ES 2010) proposes a poignant commentary on the present conditions of a multi-ethnic yet racially segregated city, which is organized by different levels of mobility. Rather than being a tragedy, tracing the last months of Uxbal, a man who, in the face of his impending death, struggles to ensure a sheltered life for his two children, Biutiful can be conceived as a cinematic critique of the city. It offers a distinct contribution to the discourse on urban mobility, since it meticulously deciphers the urban conditions of an emerging new mobility spurred by a permanent quest for adaptability: a complex, contradictory mobility I would like to call a “forced flexible mobility.” In highlighting both the unequal distribution of space and its constant re-appropriation by different ethnic and social groups, this mobility tackles the contradictory status of a “flexible human being” forced into continuous transformation.

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies

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