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and the tower of...interlopers

i really loved it when alejandro gonzalez inarritu, the director of babel told mr. governator schwarzenegger (when accepting the best picture award at the golden globes) that he promised that all his papers were in order. cheeky, i thought.

i was also very glad that babel won some awards, because they put it back in the theaters, so i got to finally see it last night. the tales of several families, interwoven: a moroccan family trying to survive and looking for the best way to defend its goats (vital to life) from desert jackals buys a rifle; an american woman, marriage falling apart, on vacation in morocco with her husband gets shot; a deaf japanese school girl who can't get along with father, tries to deal with the recent death of her mother and tries to fit into a hearing world; a mexican woman working as a nanny in california takes her charges with her to her son's wedding in mexico when her employer informs her that no one will be relieving her so that she can attend.

it's this last story that strikes me most. possibly because gael garcia bernal plays her nephew who comes to pick up her and the kids and take them to mexico. and mr. garcia bernal is indeed quite striking. but i have to say, his character is the strangest interloper (perhaps a cipher?) i've seen in film for quite a while. the way his character just completely disappears is so...odd...and kind of unbelievable. i'm not trying to give too much of a spoiler here, but his role is solely to advance the plot, to get the woman and kids across the border, whereas the other characters seem to have actual lives and lifestories.

a lot of critics have decried the film for its complexity. i refuse to criticize a film for being complex. instead, i say pay better attention, watch intelligently. the events of the film are presented in strict chronological order, although the way the stories skip about may seem to suggest that they are. the film that i couldn't help but compare it to was syriana, but syriana is quite different in that (if i am not mistaken) most of the events of the film are told in chronological order. the major difference seemed to be that, in syriana, the main characters of the main stories all converge at a single point. in babel, in the end all of the characters are unseen interlopers in the lives of the other characters - and the fact that they are unseen is the key. if the world of the film continued to exist on a real plan simultaneous to our own, we'd assume that most of the characters would never ever cross paths.

for some reason, i can't help but think of jorge luis borges and his ruinas circulares, the concentric circles of existence that various worlds are organized about. the worlds of the film's characters, my world, your world, the world of all americans, the world of all north americans, and so on, and so on, and so on. and on that note, i'm gonna end this post with two pictures, one of brad pitt and one of gael garcia bernal. because i can. because our spheres of existence are concentric, but as shown by the film, these circles can be bisected. (thanks.)