Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, the first Mexican nominated for an Oscar in the best director category, said he survived the “Hispanic tsunami” that took over this year’s Academy Awards thanks to three things: good friends, a lot of water and a good novel. González Iñárritu – whose globe-spanning, multi-lingual film “Babel” was nominated for seven Oscars in total and was the last installment in a trilogy that includes “Amores Perros” (Love’s a Bitch) and “21 Gramos” (21 Grams), all with Guillermo Arriaga as screenwriter – is well aware of the power of words, having made people’s inability to communicate the main theme of his latest work.
Q. What are you reading at the moment?
A. (The Spanish translation) of Haruki Murakami’s novel “South of the border/West of the Sun.”
Q. Which book has had the biggest impact on you in your lifetime?
A. “El Aleph” (The Aleph) by Jorge Luis Borges. I was totally absorbed by it. I was 14, 15, maybe 16 years old and it changed my perception of the world.
Q. Who is your favorite author?
A. Borges or maybe Julio Cortazar and his “Bestiario.” It’s hard to decide between the two. These Argentine authors were the key to a life I didn’t know existed, to a new dimension apart from the reality we know.
Q. How would you encourage reading?
A. We were talking about it at the Guadalajara Book Fair (Mexico), where I went to present Carlos Fuentes’ latest book. I’m one of those who thinks that good cinema encourages reading. The other type of cinema, for a (mass audience), will never do any harm because those who go to see it are never going to open a book anyway.