Monday, December 04, 2006

Babel:a story about communication and understanding

Alejandro González Iñárritu’ s new film has the same style as his other films (Amores Peros, 21grams). Babel his latest film is also the story of a story of intertwined events. A woman-tourist in Morocco is shot. While her husband tries to take her to a hospital and save her life we see in flash back the problems the couple had. Moreover we follow he story of the Mexican nanny of their children who is accused of kidnapping them and is exported back to Mexico and the story of a deaf girl in Japan who lives with her father after her mother committed suicide.

The editing between the three stories is ingenious and has great rhythm and pace. It manages to create tension and anxiety and maintain it throughout the whole film. The film has the personal style and aesthetic of Inarritu. Sharp images that convey the culture and the way of living in four completely different countries, Morocco, Mexico, Japan and United States.

The connection between is rather loose and has no real meaning. The meaning of the film could have been served equally well by three completely separate stories. In all cases Inarittu explores cases of miscommunication and misunderstanding. The couple of Brand Pit and Cate Blanchett have failed to communicate and understand each other after the tragic death of their baby son. They take the trip to Morocco trying to be alone and to re-discover each other but it takes am almost fatal incident (the shooting of the wife) in order for them to be able to really talk and resolve their past issues. The play of the children with the shot gun is mistaken for a terrorist act. As a result the relationships between America and Morocco suffer. The Mexican nanny takes her charges along with her in Mexico for her sons’s wedding. When she tries to cross the borders back to America the border patrol thinks that she has kidnapped the children. Her nephew that drives the car feels threaten and from there and on everything goes downhill. The children are abandoned in the desert, almost dying from thirst and the nanny is deported back to Mexico and is treated as criminal. The initial misunderstanding that leads to destruction in this story takes place in the conversation between the border patrol and the nephew. In the third story a girl is trying to communicate without language. She is deaf and mute. Even in this case the results are not very encouraging. The girl misinterprets human contact with sex. In all cases fear and prejudice uphold communication and understanding. An accident with a gun is thought to be a terrorist act because terrorism is expected from Arabs. The Mexican woman is treated like a suspect at the border and fear leads her to some unwise decisions. Only the children who haven’t learned to be afraid or to be suspicious remain unconcerned and are ready to socialise at the wedding and have one. Only when the police start to go after them do they start to feel that their nanny might not be such a good person after all. The obvious conclusion of the film is that fear and prejudice lead to misunderstanding and even to violence and war. A rather obvious conclusion, wouldn’t you say?

All and all Babel is a well thought film. It has the signs of a true auteur. Inaritu definitely has his own style and his own agenda, which is a good thing. On the other hand, and this is the only complain i have about this film- Inaritu has done this kinf of film again and better. Somehow Babel fails to communicate in an inner level with the spectator. It remains a good film but a rather cold film. A film with great intellect and less feeling.

No comments: