Sunday, February 04, 2007

Of The Most Relevant Film This Year

Just last weekend, editorial duties prompted me to write of the last decade: “the 1990s only further proved how interconnected the world had become—repercussions of news seemingly felt oceans away from its locality.”

Of course now in 2007, this point of global interconnectedness cannot be underscored enough. I hesitate to use the world “globalization” for it evokes a sense of harmony in the world. Reality tells us that our interconnectedness is one just as much based on conflict than in synchronicity. Few films have been as effective and as timely in expressing this as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Babel.

Babel is to the world situation what Paul Haggis’ Oscar-winning Crash was to the racial and ethnic situation in the United States. But as Crash was successful in encapsulating the tension between races, perhaps Babel is even more successful in that it manages to jump from the US, Mexico, Morocco, and Japan without ever betraying the heart of each person’s story.

Both films mastered the art of interwoven storylines. But while Crash was a gut check to one’s view on American society as a whole, Babel tugged on one’s concern for each in every character—the two kids in Morocco, the helpless American tending to his wife who was shot, the Mexican immigrant who is deported, the deaf Japanese teenager whose mother’s suicide still haunts her.

All these characters, unknowingly connected because of a perceived act of terrorism, are all fragments of today’s world, minus the political rhetoric.

Through its depicting the lives of diverse characters connected by an innocent act of violence, Babel becomes a fragmented synthesis of 2007, minus the wide lenses, minus the generalizations of media.

Few films this past year (Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth challenges this distinction) have been as relevant, have been as timely.
(Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal, Koji Yakusho)
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Written by Guillermo Arriaga
M.v. highly recommends!


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