Monday, November 17, 2008

An unusual portrayal of the mundanely - “Babel”

“Babel”, a strong contender during the 2007 Oscars, stands as an undisputed testimony to Mexican film maker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s unusual filmmaking technique. The movie follows the league of “Amores Perros” and “21 Grams”, where diverse storylines that travel on singular paths eventually culminate at one junction taking the viewer by surprise.

“Babel”, a Greek word denoting ‘confusion’ or ‘ambiguity’ does perplex an amateur film-goer initially. The film begins its journey in the desolated barren lands of Morroco, where local man, Abdullah, purchases a .270 mm gun for his sons to keep away the jackals from their herd. Yusuf the younger and mischievous son, in an attempt to test the range of the rifle accidentally shoots at a tourist bus. The bullet hits American tourist Susan Jones (Cate Blanchett) who is on a reconciliation vacation with her husband Richard ( Brad Pitt) to save their strife-ridden marriage. The couple is left stranded in the deserts with only the locals by their side to help them get medical support. In San Diego, America, the couple’s two young children are taken to Mexico by their trusted nanny Amelia (Adriana Barazza) as she finds no takers to look after the kids while she is desperate to attend her son’s wedding. Amelia cruises through the border with no hindrance from the border police and happily enjoys the wedding feast with the two blonde American kids by her side, who are oblivious of their mother’s peril on the other side of the world.

Meanwhile in Tokyo, Chieko Wattaya, the teenaged daughter of a wealthy individual named Yasujiro Wattaya, is seen indulging herself in rebellious rendevous in order to gratify the trauma caused by her disability (she is deaf and dumb), rejection from the opposite sex and her mother’s suicide.

Four different countries, four unique cultures, four strong backgrounds, the proem though looks a tad confusing “Babel” eventually interlocks the differing tracks into one drama. The Japanese man , Wattaya had gifted his priced gun to Hasan, during a hunting expedition and Hasan in turn had sold it to Abdullah. The same gun had played the culprit and pricked Susan, wounding her critically, while her children were left wandering in the Mexican deserts, after the wedding, as Amelia gets reprimanded by the Police for tresspassing and working illegally in America.

The underlying theme of the film is nothing less than the oneness of humanity that is beyond human barriers and borders. Be it love, tragedy or death - humanity echoes the same attitude at such desperate times. Yusuf a curious youngster witnesses the first few glipmses of physicl pleasure, while Chieko in her adolescece yearns for intimacy by imposing herself on handsome men, Amelia rekindles her love with a widower in Mexico on the wedding evening.

Similarly, the concept of death, its aftermath and the pain it causes again exposes its terror in diversified stages. Through Susan’s spine chilling cries as she is pushed to the edge of death, and Anwar the eldest of Abdullah, shrieks as he nears his end bieng shot by the Morroccan Police, which impels Yusuf to surrender. A stark loneliness pervades Chieko’s apartment when she broods over her lost mother and Richard’s children fear to sleep in the dark as they believe that their baby brother died in his sleep.

The viewer is definitely taken on a global tour where ordinary canvasses of incidents unfold as the screenplay travels from the middle east to the far east and then to new found land in a perplexing order. The screenplay is well etched that an ardent viewer could easily break through the ambiguity and the minimal dialogues to comprehend the meanings, which are very broad if one is to sit and explore the crux of the film.

Ironically “Babel” is devoid of perplexities as long as one connects with the emotions, the plights, the apprehensions and the eventual tragedies of each characters who are after all representative of a vast panorama of human traits.

Unlike the usual film that ends with an end or period this movie projects mundane situations from around the world occurring at different time frames to a multitude of people, form various backgrounds and their reactions to such unexpected happenings. It comes to justify that the human race is nonetheless closely knitted by a thread that is known as ‘emotions’which is common to all.

1 comment:

Arjun K said...

no comments...i got a mood swing ;) ...
you know what you should post this on imdb...good stuff