BABEL (Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu)
BABEL is a cinematic achievement for filmmaker Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, proving he really is the master of interconnected storytelling. Inarritu has come a long way from AMORES PERROS, and while his debut film is a masterpiece in itself, BABEL, his third film improves his visual language a lot better, his emotional and moral pull more visceral.
Working once more from a screenplay by Guillermo Arriaga, BABEL, like the biblical tower that caused mankind’s diverse language barrier succeeded in telling a single story from multiple and multicultural points of view. You see, what BABEL really wants to emphasize is how language creates communication and miscommunication; Inarritu translated it onscreen by showing four separate encounters set in three distant countries.
A couple (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) travels to Morocco to recover from marital problems, possibly grief; a young Japanese girl (Rinko Kikuchi) struggles with her deaf-muteness, and the troubles it presents, including her budding sexuality and a closed relationship with her father (Koji Yakusho); a babysitter goes home to Mexico in time for her son’s wedding only to face a harsh fate of “stupidity”, and; a Moroccan family living in the mountains pays the price of ignorance and social stigma.
How the stories connect, intersect, and move forwards and backwards is breathtaking; the film benefits greatly from the tightness of the editing, and you can see that Inarritu carefully chose and sequenced his shots for maximum jugular effect.
Rinko Kikuchi is the crème de la crème of BABEL. Her eyes evoke a burning desire to be loved, to be understood. Her character’s vulnerability as a human being is heartbreaking.
One day, this is the one film I’m going to show my students when I become a teacher, in order to create a perfect landscape for moral analysis. Were the events that happened justified? Were they a matter of choice or consequence? If a film evokes such questions from the viewer then you’ll know it’s worth 140 minutes of your precious time.