Maternal Identities and Abject Equivalence in Biutiful

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This article analyses the representation of motherhood in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2010 film Biutiful. It examines the liberal and conservative dimensions of Iñárritu’s characterization of the biological Argentine mother, Marambra, the immigrant mothers, Igé and Lili, and Uxbal’s spiritual mother, Bea. I propose a new evaluatory concept for the representation of immigrants in Spanish culture, abject equivalence, which can be defined as the paralleling of both hosts and immigrants in corporeal, state and spatial spaces of debasement. Abject equivalence levels and humanises both host and immigrant by demonstrating their vulnerability to social and economic marginalisation by inhumane and economically more powerful individuals and social forces.
It was awarded the second prize in the Adela Zamudio Essay Competition for Best Article by the US organisation, Feministas Unidas, which has more than 3000 members in the US. The award will be presented to LR in the MLA Annual Convention in Seattle in January 2020.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-410
Number of pages33
JournalMLN - Modern Language Notes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2018


  • Immigration in Contemporary Spanish culture
  • Biutiful
  • Transnational cinema
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu


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