Thornton “Melodramatic Masculinities”

“Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s melodramatic masculinities”

Niamh Thornton, University of Liverpool


Melodrama is a genre with deep roots in Mexican cinema with distinct conventions and particularities. Alejandro González Iñárritu (AGI) demonstrates a fluency in this genre integrating it into the conventions of transnational art house cinema. As someone whose auteur status is conferred both through multiple prestigious awards and articulations of his creative self as originator of his projects, AGI’s play with genre is often overlooked. Using videographic criticism as a tool for analysis, this article considers the actor’s dynamic performances in AGI’s male-centred melodramas Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) and The Revenant (2015).


“…the masculinity to be found in these films is a masculinity that has a specific energy particular to Iñárritu’s films that requires release and containment that is curtailed by external forces and managed as a burden by the individual.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.