Sparky: Babel, and babbling
|Directed by||Alejandro González Iñárritu|
|Produced by||Steve Golin |
|Written by||Guillermo Arriaga|
|Starring||Brad Pitt |
Gael García Bernal
|Music by||Gustavo Santaolalla|
|Distributed by||Paramount Vantage|
|Release date(s)|| November 10, 2006 |
November 15, 2006
January 5, 2007
|Running time||142 min.|
Japanese Sign Language
|Budget||$25 million USD (estimated)|
|All Movie Guide profile|
Babel is a 2006 dramatic film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga. It stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Kôji Yakusho, and Gael García Bernal. The film was first screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival. The movie was also shown to audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Zagreb Film Festival, where it was met with positive reviews. The multinarrative drama will complete Iñárritu's "Death trilogy" that also consists of Amores Perros and 21 Grams. The film opened in selected cities in the United States on October 27, 2006, and went into full release on November 10, 2006.
In a remote location in the desert, in southern Morocco, Hassan sells a Winchester rifle to Abdullah, who gives it to his two teenage boys, Yussef and Ahmed, (played by the local non-professional actors Boubker Ait El Caid and Said Tarchini) who look after their family's herd of goats, to kill jackals preying on the goats. To test it out, they aim from a hill at rocks and later a bus passing below. After missing a few times they hit the bus, injuring the woman of a vacationing American couple, Richard and Susan (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett).
The police roughly question Hassan and beat him and his wife until they confess Abdullah now has the rifle. Later, the two boys confess to their father what they have done. The three flee from the police taking the rifle with them. The police shoot at them, and in ignorance Yussef shoots back. Yussef, who shot Susan earlier, eventually surrenders and confesses, and asks for medical treatment for his brother, who had been shot in the leg and back by the police while attempting to flee.
Richard and Susan were vacationing in Morocco to escape their own marital woes. It appears the sudden death of their infant son, suggested to be SIDS, has caused a strain on their marriage as they cannot communicate their frustration, guilt, and blame to each other. When Susan is hit the bus goes to the nearest village with a doctor. The bus waits some time, but the other passengers demand that it leaves, because the heat is hard to bear, and because of the danger of more attacks. Since Susan cannot travel by bus in her condition, the couple stays behind, together with the bus's tour guide Anwar, to wait for transport to a hospital. Political issues between the US and Morocco prevent quick help, but at last a helicopter arrives. The simplicity of the ordeal, Richard caring for and protecting Susan with the fear of losing her, brings them together.
In parallel, we see a rebellious deaf-mute Japanese teenage girl, Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi), who is traumatized by the recent suicide of her mother and the fact that boys treat her like a monster because of her conditions. She has started exhibiting sexually provocative behavior, such as wearing a short skirt and no underpants. She even goes so far as to try to seduce a police detective, Kenji (Satoshi Nikaido), who visits the house to question Chieko's father, Yasujiro (Kôji Yakusho), about his gun. It turns out Yasujiro is an avid hunter who once went hunting in Morocco and gave his rifle to his tour guide, Hassan.
We also see Richard and Susan's Mexican nanny, Amelia (Adriana Barraza), taking care of their two young children while the couple is stranded in Morocco. Because of the incident she is forced to take care of the children longer than anticipated. Unable to secure help to care for them, she takes them to her son's wedding in Mexico. On the way back her nephew Santiago (Gael García Bernal) drives back after having a couple of drinks. When returning and passing the border checkpoint the customs agent is rude and abusive, however between being drunk, misunderstandings due to language complications and the fact that the nanny has no permission slip, they are searched and are motioned to pull over to the next parking lot. Santiago decides to flee and later drops Amelia and the children off in the desert, so he can safely get rid of the police chasing him. He never makes it back and Amelia and children are left stranded in the desert. After a day of walking while carrying the children, out of fatigue and necessity - realizing that they all will die if she doesn't get help, Amelia leaves the children behind to find someone, telling them not to move. She finds a police officer, John, and to her horror, instead of helping her to find the kids he is more interested in arresting her. After she breaks down into tears out of love for the two children that she raised as her own, John allows her to lead him to where the children were left, but they have wandered away. She is taken back to the precinct, where she is told the children have been found, and is extradited from the US for working illegally even though she had been in the US for 16 years.
Apparently, following completion of principal photography of Babel, director González Iñárritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga had a serious falling out. The dispute centered on the authorship of their previous film, 21 Grams. Screenwriter Arriaga argued that film was a collaborative medium, and thus both he and González Iñárritu were the authors of the films they had worked on together. Director González Iñárritu claimed sole credit as the auteur of those same films, dismissing screenwriter Arriaga's contribution to the pictures.
Because of this public controversy, director González Iñárritu banned screenwriter Arriaga from attending the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, an act for which the director was severely criticized.
Observers believe it is unlikely that director and screenwriter will work together again.
Principal cast and characters
- Brad Pitt - Richard Jones
- Cate Blanchett - Susan Jones
- Mohamed Akhzam - Anwar
- Boubker Ait El Caid - Yussef
- Said Tarchani - Ahmed
- Mustapha Rachidi - Abdullah
- Abdelkader Bara - Hassan
- Adriana Barraza - Amelia
- Gael García Bernal - Santiago
- Elle Fanning - Debbie Jones
- Nathan Gamble - Mike Jones
- Clifton Collins Jr. - Police Officer at Mexican border
- Michael Peña - Off. John
Awards and nominations
- Cannes Film Festival:
- Won: Best Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
- Won: François Chalais Award (a Prize of the Ecumenical Jury)
- Nominated: Palme d'Or (Best Film)
Box Office Performance
Within the film industry, Babel's box-office results are generally considered to have been weaker than expected.
Released in seven theaters on October 27, 2006, and then released wide in 1,251 theaters on November 10, 2006, Babel has earned as of November 29, 2006, $15,633,000 in North America, and $17,294,000 in the rest of the world, for a cumulative worldwide box office total of $32,928,000.
Babel is thus the lowest performing movie featuring Brad Pitt in a starring role since 1994's The Favor.. It is also the worst performing wide-release movie (1,000+ theaters) starring Cate Blanchett since 1999's Pushing Tin. Compared to his other films, Babel will barely equal González Iñárritu's 21 Grams for North American box office, but will be far behind that film's $60 million world-wide gross boxoffice.
Grosses may also be positively affected if the film receives awards recognition.
- Official site
- Official trailer
- Babel at the Internet Movie Database
- Babel Production Notes Full Production Notes
- Babel at Rotten Tomatoes
- Babel Reviews at Metacritic.com
It seems Cary was smitten by Rinko ...
Rinko Kikuchi (?? ??, Kikuchi Rinko), known as Yuriko Kikuchi (?? ???, Kikuchi Yuriko) prior to May of 2004, is a Japanese actress. She was born on January 6, 1981 in Kanagawa Prefecture).
Her role in Babel (2006 film) has been her breakthrough role. She won the Gotham Awards for Best Breakthrough, she was nominated for a Golden Satellite for Best Supporting Actress and she won the National Board of Review for Best Breakthrough Female (with Jennifer Hudson).
- Warau Mikaeru (2006)
- Babel (2006)
- Warau Michael (2006)
- Nice no mori: The First Contact (2006)
- Tagatameni (2005)
- Riyu (2004)
- Survive Style5+ (2004)
- 69 (sixty nine) (2004)
- Cha no Aji (2004)
- Tori (2004)
- 17 sai (2003)
- DRUG (2001)
- Sora no Ana (2001)
- Paradice (2001)
- Akai Shibafu (2000)
- Sanmon Yakusha (2000)
- Ikitai (1999)
She also made appearances in many Japanese TV commercials.
- Rinko Kikuchi at the Internet Movie Database
- Official site
- EXCLUSIVE Rinko Kikuchi-Babel Interview by Paul Fischer in Los Angeles
- Rinko Kikuchi Detailed Biography
Maybe inappropriate for the day of the Attack on Pearl Harbor? But hey -