Babel(2006): Issues and potentials of global interconnectedness

Alejandro Gonzales Iñárritu’s 2006 film Babel depicts intertwining story based on different countries: Japan, Morocco, and the Mexico–US border region in seven languages (English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Japanese sign language, Berber, and Arabic). Presenting the narrative structure of sophisticate time and space simultaneity, the film also including mixing actors from the United States, Mexico, and Japan with amateurs. Besides, the funding comes from three American companies (American Media Rights Capital, Anonymous Content, and Paramount Vantage) and the French distribution company. It can be seen that this global film be depicted by thematically and structurally mirrors reflect realities and link to the different locations globally.

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Babel (2006) Poster

A singular incident which is two young boys accidentally shooting an American woman in Morocco lead to the rest of sub-plots happens in the different locations.

McLuhan points out

“mass media would create shared frames of reference and mutual knowledge between people cross the globe” (cited in Eriksen, Globalization, 2).

In other words, the interconnectedness can be conveyed by different media platforms of, for example, to connect different sub-plots to shape the main story by using television to output the informations from the other side of the world. Global flows in different countries to build up the connections.

Babel (2006)  Trailer

However, the issue behind the background of globalisation which is misunderstanding, the barriers of the misunderstanding based on the different backgrounds such as ideology, culture, language and so on in cross-cultural globalization. Specifically speaking, the media reports the  event of shooting Susan as a terrorist act based on the stereotypical view of muslins in general, rush to judgments without proof. Also, Susan feels uncomfortable and suspicious in the new environment, it can be seen from she uses hands sanitizer and throws the ice out of Richard’s glass.

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“You do not know what kinds of water there is in there. ”

                                                                                                ──Susan

The potential problems gradually comes out, which is the tension that they don’t really understand each other. All in all, communication issue through the borders (linguistic, territorial or even cultural) can be miscommunication even if they speak the same language.

Jing Ding

References:

Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 33.

Charles Acland (2003), “Global Audiences and the Current Cinema” in: Screen Traffic: Movies, Multiplexes and Global Culture, Durham: Duke University Press, 3-22.

Paul Kerr, “Babel’s Network Narrative: Packaging a Globalized Art Cinema”, Transnational Cinemas 1 (2010): 37–51.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen, ‘Introduction’, Globalization: The Key Concepts, Oxford, New York: Berg, 1-14.

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