...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

November 13, 2006

Babel - 7

There are at least five reasons that this is an excellent film. The same reasons that I believe will make it a serious contender for the 2006 Best Picture Oscar.
1. This is a great story about communication and understanding as the narrative follows four families in Morocco, Japan, and Mexico/America. Underlying the story is the human need to love and be loved in return.
2. Like the film Syriana, last year, this film explores issues of globalization, communication and geopolitics. But it goes further- trying to get at the heart of these ideas by setting them in the context of families- those that are closest to us. And it does not remain trapped in cynicism, rather it clings to hope.
3. It is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga whose honors are long over due for their other good films 21 Grams and Amores Perros. This film takes them to the next level of filmmaking, by showing glimmers of light and hope in the dark landscape of the human experience that they explore.
4. The acting is superb. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are the most known of the actors, but it is Rinko Kikuchi who plays a deaf-mute teenager living in Japan that is the performance of the film. The actors become the characters and invite you into the story.
5. The cinematography- the catching of light- is done well. The scenes in Japan are crisp and clean, while the scenes in Mexico are more gritty. The music is also used to maximum effect. There is a great sequence halfway through the film in a dance club that stands alone as an achievement. And the final sequence of scene and music is haunting and stays with you long after the film is over.
The giftedness of director, writer, and actors to allow the viewer to get involved in the narrative, the use of light and sound to tell the story, the way the story enters the viewers life, and the worldview and ideas explored are the key things to look for in a good film. When they come together like they do in this film, you have seen greatness- it has the potential to change you.

1 comment:

Andrea Hensen said...

Gosh! I love Iñárritu and Arriaga! Why oh why have I not seen Babel?

Thanks for helping us understand!