"It's wrongly spelled," Javier Bardem, the handsome star of the new film "Biutiful," told us of its quirky title.
"The Spaniards sometimes write it that way. I think it means that in everything that goes wrong and in everything that is wrong, there's always beauty in it," he told us at the Lighthouse Theater in New York. "There's always something that you can hold and believe and trust and have faith, even when things are going wrong. There must be, otherwise it's impossible to live."
Italian designer Miuccia Prada attended on the blustery night wearing a Fall '10 coat and crazy Spring '10 striped Mary Jane platforms from her own collections. Prada, along with Vogue international editors (slash power couple) Sandra Brant and Ingrid Sischy -- a trio Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu called his "three amigas" -- presented the film at a Cinema Society preview on Wednesday night.
"I believe this material really touches people's hearts," Bardem said of the Spanish-language film about sickness and dysfunction within a struggling family, which many see as a strong contender to snag Bardem his second Oscar. "With this movie, it doesn't matter where you're from: It grabs you."
The audience, which included famous names like Claire Danes, Alicia Keys, Holly Hunter and Rachel Roy, was gripped by Bardem's performance. "He's a terrific actor," said Thora Birch, who is in New York to rehearse her upcoming stage run in "Dracula." "He's very unexpected; you don't know what he's going to do next."
Although Bardem's significant other, seven-months-pregnant wife Penélope Cruz, didn't make the screening, Birch was careful not to tread on any toes with her praise. "He's a married guy!" she laughed.
"He's a big human being. A big soul," said González Iñárritu of his star. But though "Biutiful" is a bit heavy (to say the least), the director said the actor kept the time between takes light. "He's incredibly funny. He's always imitating people and making jokes to people. He's just such an idiot that every 30 seconds he's doing some stupid thing, but he's very funny!"