Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Most aspiring directors hope they'll one day make an impression in Hollywood. Once in a while, however, a filmmaker comes along with a talent so outstanding Tinseltown goes looking for them.
Mexico's Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu is such a director. Born in Mexico City in 1963, he spent his 20s working as a DJ in one of the metropolis' top nightclubs, before making the move into cinema as a soundtrack composer. It wasn't long before he widened his horizons again by becoming a TV producer and then setting up his own film company.
Having already proved his mettle on the business side of things Alejandro was in a stronger position than most when he set about making his debut feature. The father-of-two can scarsely have imagined the reaction he would provoke with Amores Perros or Love's A Bitch.
With a then-unknown Gael Garcia Berñal in the lead role, the gritty drama dazzled film festivals around the world and garnered a slew of awards in the process. Its director found himself receiving phonecalls from top studio bosses north of the border and, despite the fact English was not his mother tongue, he was given the chance to work with some of America's hottest talents.
The result was the equally impressive 21 Grams, starring Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro. Echoing his first effort, the film featured three intersecting stories and used a chaotic chonological narrative to great artistic effect. After receiving a second wave of international acclaim for the movie Alejandro might have been forgiven for wondering whether he could measure up to expectations again. But his third film, Babel, in which Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett turned in stunning performances, managed to do exactly that.
Adding to the film's linguistic challenges, the director opted to use several non-actors. "Directing non-actors is difficult - directing actors in a foreign language is even more difficult," he explained. "Directing non-actors in a language that you yourself don't understand is the craziest thing you can possibly think of. But I would do it again in a minute."