Babel

After reading Zhiwei's blog on the movie Babel, I too, wanted to blog down my take on it.

I'd actually been waiting for this movie for a couple of years, since I heard that Brad Pitt was involved in the production of this movie.

The Bible says in Genesis Chapter 11 "The Tower of Babel":
"Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, 'Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly.' They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.' But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said, 'If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.' So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel - because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth." (NIV)
So you see why the movie is called Babel - four different events involving people of different cultures and languages, occuring in different places at the same time, but somewhat amazingly interconnected to each other. Talk about six degrees of seperation. Well, I'm not going to blog about the biblical perspective, cos I wouldn't know how to answer your arguments; but rather about what this movie meant to me and how I connected with it.

Some of my colleagues felt the movie was mundane, something that happens all the time to ordinary people living around us. Julian said, "It's actually not bad, it's kinda hard to make a worst-case scenario movie." Now I felt that this movie was powerful, one of the best I'd watched in a long while since The Prestige... and I personally felt that it surpassed Crash... because of the wholly different perspectives from different cultures in other parts of the world. For 7 Oscar nominations, I would guess that many others felt the same too.

Some of the things in the movie I could really connect to... like Cate Blanchett throwing the ice out even though the Coke was served warm. While travelling to less-developed countries, you can't help but to question the hygiene of the food/drink that enters your stomach. But how about the locals that eat and drink there everyday? Guess how they survive? And the scene towards the end where Brad Pitt was indignant in giving money to the Moroccan tour guide to thank him for his help - reminded me of the Cambodian tour guide that bought me a T-shirt as a gift, just because I resembled his sister who stayed afar. Sometimes its the warmth of these locals that bring us deeply to shame - we often crown our expectations and comfortable lifestyles on others, expecting them to take the money because they are poor, and that by giving them money we would have repayed our debt to them - just because that would be exactly what we would have expected if we were to be on the receiving end. And the deaf-and-dumb Japanese girl that was so desolate and desperately in need of attention till the extent of needing to sleep with someone... thinking that through sex with another would be the ultimate way for her to connect with the world beyond her ears. How many times have we felt that innate need to bond intimately with someone? Especially in a world that's too busy spinning that no one has any time to stoop and notice your fears... until you turn reality into fantasy and breakdown and cry in front of a total stranger...

Another thing I'd like to ponder is the fact that really, rich people are always better off than the poor in this capitalistic world. After all the trauma that the Jones(Pitt's) family had gone through... they would still be helicoptered away safely by their protective U.S. government, back to the safenets of their cozy San Diego home and receive proper medical treatment, modern medicine, and professional counselling. But what about the people who died on the other end? Would anybody even give a dime to Abdullah and his sons? The police wouldn't even stop firing! And they were their countrymen! And how about the poor Mexican lady who just made a very bad decision to bring the Jones' children to Mexico... in exchange for years of savings in the Blessed Land. Same to the Japanese girl. Even though hearing-impaired and attention-deprived, she seems to live a more blessed lifestyle compared to other girls of the same age living in Mexico. And those Mexican girls would definately live a better lifestyle compared to their peers in Morocco.

Who's at fault? You can't really blame it on anyone... what if baby Sammy Jones hadn't died in his sleep? What if the Jones' had chosen another country for their vacation? What if the Japanese hunter had never given the gun away to the Moroccan guide? What if Abdullah had never spent 500 on the gun? What if... what if? Blame it all on capitalistism, that rich people grow even richer and poor people grow even poorer... and the gap widens. But don't forget how many people perished along the way in the history of capatalism... how America made it to this day to become the strongest and most powerful country in the world.

All-in-all, Babel is a movie that I would strongly recommend if you'd like to watch something 'deep' and thought-provoking... do spend some time to really get to know the world and its issues... cos in this global village that we live in nowadays, with news on the TV about Morocco and all... sadly, nobody really cares about anybody living on the other side of the world.

Comments

古越遺民 said…
i'm so happy that u're on the same side with me.

i beg to differ with u saying that the jp girl is 'attention-deprived'. she is actually get rejected straight away after the guys found her deaf. this is discrimination.
Xweing said…
About the Jap girl, oh it is so much more deeper than the surface what you see...

One of the things that the word Babel tries to bring out is the hunger of humanity to huddle together for companionship (http://www.ldolphin.org/babel.html)

...and the need for man to communicate with each other. In the case of this girl, since her mother died she feels like no one is listening... that's why she made up the story of her mom falling to death (instead of hanging herself) to the policeman because she wanted attention and care.

I disagree that it's 纯粹 becos she got dumped by the guy. Girl's emotions are much more deeper than that.

Popular Posts