catapult magazine

catapult magazine




Jan 29 2007
03:30 am

The film makes me think about what my place in the world is as an individual in the world, but particularly of my culture and country. Another part of that would be to think about, if it is possible, how another individual of the same, or of different, culture sees me, if they may see me.

How may are our lives connected? How may they not? Are our lives connected? The story of the film crosses the lives of a handful of people from across the world. Morocco, Tokyo, Mexico/San Diego, English/French tourists (the world?s eyewitnesses?). Who are we as individuals in relation to the world?s nations and people? How are we to behave under pressing circumstances?

?I didn?t mean for this to happen.? We say to ourselves? ?I just did something stupid? was an actual quote from the movie, I think. How can our smallest blunders ruin our lives? Should they? Is it fair? But how many blunders have we been saved from already? Each day?

Taking the title of the movie into consideration?we can see how our languages are still confused. Yes, we have translators to bridge those gaps, but even between individuals, the film explores the confusion between individuals of even similar cultures and languages, confusion between brothers, sons and fathers, fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, daughters and love, the old and the young. We are still very much confused. I think that this movie seeks to portray that confusion as permeating all of our relationships.

With talk of globalization, whatever that is, we think of people from all nations being able to have contact with each other almost effortlessly for some, the wealthy. While humanity may yet have a common culture soon enough, and a common language once again, as before the Biblical Babel story, our confusion still lingers. It is a confusion that man has had since before Babel.

The lives of the characters in Babel get pretty messed up. But things don?t get nearly as bad as they could. I don?t know what the director?s and writer?s intentions were exactly, but there is a measure of grace that is imbued, or even upheld, as things don?t go completely to shit. The wife may die, but the children live and so does the husband. The aging woman loses all her things, but she still has her son (who is recently married and seeking to start a new life), the father loses a son, perhaps unjustly, and perhaps he will never see his other son again, but he became a man that day as he accepted responsibility. The daughter loses her fragile dignity, but perhaps accepts her father back. Had the action strayed a little further, which may not have even been necessary, it is foreseeable that all of the main characters, plus others, would have died. But instead, many lived.