Babel(2006): a Film of Globalization?

Before Babel, there was never a film that could reflect globalization like this, from production to the film itself. One thing is its transnational collaboration. Alejandro, the Mexican director, uses cast and crew in four countries, Morocco, Japan, Mexico and America. Another thing is its international narrative. In Babel, an unintentional firing brings together four different families from three continents. Not only the theme, the possibility and difficulty of communication, but also the structure, “jumping with sophistication in both time and space”, (Baggesgaard, 2013) mirrors the complexity of globalization.

However, is Babel a complete film of globalization? I doubt it. Financially, the co-production system includes five companies. Three of them are American ones, providing the main source. In terms of actors, except Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, all coming from other country context are less known or unknown. As Deborah said, Babel “relying on U.S. funding and the star system to make and sell the film”, (Shaw, 2011, p14) which is the standard Hollywood mode.


What’s more, this film implies American values in a relatively imperceptible way. Superficially, Babel criticizes American government. An obvious example would be when the America stops the ambulance from saving its own people, inserting the accident is an act of terrorism. But this is just one plot. From an overall perspective, Babel sets contrasted destinies for different families: American and Japanese family are rescued physically or psychologically, while the residents of the Third World suffer or die, revealing “a politically and racially conservative” (Shaw, 2011, p25) point.

Just as in film industry, the process of globalization inevitably accompanies with “increasing power of national identities and cultures” (Thomas, 2007, p8). It even might be said that such phenomenon will continue and intensify for a long time in the future.

By Mengyu Huang


BAGGESGAARD, M. A. (2013) Picturing the world-cinematic globalization in the deserts of Babel. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 5(0.22704). Available from [Accessed 19 Feb 2017]

Shaw, D. (2013). The Three Amigos: The Transnational Filmmaking of Guillermo Del Toro, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and Alfonso Cuaron, 1st ed. Manchester University Press. p11-31

Thomas, H. E. (2007). Globalization: The Key Concepts, 1st ed. Oxford; New York: Berg. p1-14


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