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Movie Critic Review: "Babel" (2006)

Movie Critic Review:"Babel" (2006)

The Massacre of Calculated Coincidences*


“I think there are many political aspects to this film beyond what you'd call America's self-entitlement.
I think it's about bigger issues of misunderstanding, paranoia, protectionism. So I think it speaks beyond America on these issues, I think it speaks about the world. And that's what drew me to the film. That's what drew me to what Alejandro was after and made me want to be a part of it.” Brad Pitt talking about ‘Babel’

Brad Pitt on 'Babel'

The movie ‘Babel’ 2006 is a call for a deep and sincere 'detante' between different
world cultures as a way to hush the global “babble” and usher in an era of true human understanding!
Did I say global babble and not Babel?.
Well, strangely enough, the two words refer more or less equally to the meaning
questioned by this movie although they are not linguistically related.
Please do not get confused by this 'predetermined' confusion!
The Mexican filmmaker Inarritu (seen on the right with
Brad Pitt), whose last name amusingly contains a good chunk of the word ‘narration’, resorts in this third of
his trilogy of films to four parallel “narratives” that accidentaly
get entangled in a not-so-happy but understandably fateful convergence.
The converging element here is actually, more often than not, a diverging one!
(See the movie to figure out this additional confusion!
I believe confusion is easier to forgive than a spoiler!)
-------------
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu describes his movie as close to Esperanto. He wishes humanity to speak one and the same language as this will promote "listening":
a prerequisite to true understanding.
He complains of lack of communication in a world so wired and connected.
But he is right.
We have created and advanced fabulous tools of communication.
But we have ignored that simple and efficient device, the human spirit!
Innaritu, whose star has risen recently to the heights of international awards, decides
to finish his trilogy by a treatise on human communication! Which is drumming on the
fact that we, humans, are too close (yet so far) from understanding our shared nature.
From alleviating our fears, our skeptical stereotyping. Our obsessions of self-entitlement
and self-righteousness.
To further abstract his cause (or rather, mystify it), he borrows from traditional wisdom.
And wisdom has it that, according to genesis book, the people of ancient Babel decided
to build a tower to reach 'god' presumably to know him better. But god, whose designs
are obviously more efficient, foiled their plan by engaging them in arguments and making
their speeches incoherent and therefore disputable. The exact effect he cast on them was
to make them 'babble'.
In his interweaving of different stories with different characters,
Alejandro 'pans' the globe with beautiful mostly hand-held
photography that engenders all types of motion and angles
of taking to depict how this state of disconnect unfolds into similar human fates. From the anxieties concealed in the hustle and bustle of a city in Mexico to the sultry, pacifying vastness of the Sahara desert and into the exotic atmosphere of a Tokyo night club where the mystique of the
east is treated to a mid-seventies disco music!
The babble goes into the politics of immigration, protectionism and the easier to reach verdict of 'terrorism'!
The movie tells these different stories that converge into an unfortunate accident in candid cinema language.
The screenplay has managed to convey the combined effect of the different stories that each one apart would not have. The camera emerges as the
hero in this anti-hero, villainless drama.
                                                                               Yet, this honest rendering of the human condition
does not offer solutions to the hard question of how to better unify the world. How to silence the negative voices. The first hurdle that faces any genuine attempt at improving communication is languages.
The movie seems to emphasize this by telling each story in the language of where
 it takes place. Then we, the viewers are faced by the inaccuracies of translation and the distracting subtitles which, I believe, is foreign to the langauge of images.
'Babel' is recommended for those who seek to contemplate and reflect.
I rate 'Babel' somewhere between 7 and 8 of 10.
Please see links below to obtain the movie.

------------------------------------------------
'Babel', Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu's third feature, following “Amores Perros” and
 “21 Grams,” received its world premiere as a competition entry at the 2006 Festival
de Cannes.
============
'Babel' (2006)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal, Elle Fanning, Koji Yakusho
Directed by: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu
Produced by: Steve Golin, Jon Kilik, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu
* This subtitle is a translation.
Special thanks to Adil Badawi for suggesting this movie and to film critic Mamdouh Rizk.


Amazon Links to buy this movie:

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