Babel (2006)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 23 mins

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Embedded with intense situations and charged emotions, this complex drama interweaves four stories, all connected by a single gun, that converge at the end and reveal a complex and tragic story of the lives of humanity around the world and how we truly aren't all that different. In Morocco, a troubled married couple are on vacation trying to work out their differences. Meanwhile, a Moroccan herder buys a rifle for his sons so they can keep the jackals away from his herd. A girl in Japan dealing with rejection, the death of her mother, the emotional distance of her father, her own self-consciousness, and a disability among many other issues, deals with modern life in the enormous metropolis of Tokyo, Japan. Then, on the opposite side of the world the married couple's Mexican nanny takes the couple's 2 children with her to her son's wedding in Mexico, only to be faced with nightmarish trouble on the return trip. These masterfully interwoven tales combine into an intense and vibrant quilt of human emotion, relationships, struggles and ultimately, of oneness and unity. Let's celebrate how interconnected and similar we are, under all the diversity' – this is the inspirational message that stands out in this movie.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett

Crew: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Director), Rodrigo Prieto (Director of Photography), Gustavo Santaolalla (Music Director)

Genres: Drama

Release Dates: 10 Nov 2006 (India)

Tagline: If You Want to be Understood...Listen

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Did you know? 17 days before shooting was to commence in Morocco, none of the characters had been cast. The production crew made an announcement in the nearest town via television and radio and in the mosques that actors were needed. Within the next 24 hours, over 200 people showed up hoping to participate. Almost all of them are in the final cut of the film, both as principal characters and as extras. Read More
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as Richard
as Susan
as Walter
as Jane
as Barth
as Robert
as Lilly
as Elyse
as James
as Anwar
as Tom
as Douglas

Direction

Second Unit Director
First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director
Assistant Director

Distribution

Distributor

Writers

Screenplay Writer
Story Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography
Still Photographer
Key Grip

Music

Music Director
Music Editor

Sound

Sound Designer
Sound Re-recording Mixer
Boom Operator

Art

Art Director
Production Designer
Prop Master

Casting

Casting Director
Casting Assistant

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Assistant

Editorial

Assistant Editor

Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist
Hair Stylist

Special Effects

Special Effects Coordinator
Special Effects Technician

Stunts

Stunt Director
Stunt Coordinator
Stunt Performer

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Supervisor
Visual Effects Producer
Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital, DTS
Camera:
ARRICAM Lite (LT), ARRIFLEX 16SR3, Panaflex Millenium, Panaflex Platinum, Panavision Panaflex
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
If You Want to be Understood...Listen
Tragedy is universal
A single gunshot heard around the world.
A global disaster.
Pain is universal... But so is hope.
One shot, many kills.
Goofs:
Continuity
(at around 40 mins) The tour guide's badge which is around his neck inside the village house disappears when he goes outside.

Crew/Equipment Visible
(at around 26 mins) After Chieko takes her panties off she walks back up to the table with her friends. In this shot you can see the reflection of the steadicam arm, operator and an assistant in the mirror in the top left area of the screen.

Crew/Equipment Visible
(at around 36 mins) Camera shadow on Richard and the blue car as it passes him behind the stopped bus.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Amelia is in the desert, we can see one of the camera's shadow on the ground.

Errors in Geography
After the wedding, Amelia, her nephew and the Jones children use the Tecate border crossing to reenter the USA. After fleeing, we are shown a sandy, wide desert where they wander. Actually, the Tecate border crossing is in the mountains, there is no such desert within a reasonable distance on the USA side. What is shown looks like an Arizona border crossing.

Factual Mistake
When Chieko is at the dance club, she could not hear the music, but would still feel the bass thumping.

Revealing Mistakes
Susan is sitting on the driver's side of the bus. The shooter fires into the other side of the bus. Susan simply could not have been shot by someone in the location of the shooter.

Audio/Video Mismatch
(at around 47 mins) When the two Japanese cops meet Chieko, the older one says his name is Amano Yoshio, but the subtitles read Amamo Yoshjo.

Continuity
(at around 1h 55 mins) Amelia's torn stockings from wandering in the desert repair themselves as she is brought into the immigration office.

Continuity
When Santiago is made to go out of the car at the border crossing, it's dawn light outside. When he gets back into the car and in the following scenes, it's night again.

Continuity
When Chieko and Detective Mamiya are out on the balcony, there are no buildings close to hers when he is looking at the view they have from above the 30th floor. Later Chieko is on the balcony, nude, and her father comes to comfort her. As the movie ends, a long shot of their balcony is shown from their balcony's height and there are two buildings, one the same height, and one taller, right next to theirs that were not there earlier.
Trivia:
Actress Adriana Barraza, in real life, has had a long history of heart problems including two minor heart attacks. Despite this, she still insisted on carrying co-star Elle Fanning around in the desert for the two days of filming of Amelia walking in the desert with Mike and Debbie.

The color red is prominently seen in all four segments of the film. For example, Yussef, the Moroccan boy who accidentally shoots Susan, wears a red jacket that says "Morocco" on the back, while Amelia wears an elaborate red dress, causing her to stand out; Chieko frequently uses a red pen to write notes to people who can't understand sign language, and the seats on Richard and Susan's bus are red.

Cate Blanchett thought about turning down the role because she was going to spend most of her shooting time laying on the floor, she ended up agreeing because she wanted to work with Alejandro González Iñárritu.

The date the film is set is May 11, 2010, as shown on Chieko's cell phone when she gets the text from her father reminding her of her dentist appointment.

Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett were originally slated to appear as a couple in 2002 in Darren Aronofsky's film The Fountain (2006). However, after creative differences with Aronofsky, Pitt dropped out to appear in Troy (2004) and the film was shut down. Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz were later cast instead.

The shallow depth of field in Chieko's sequences is a nod to the photography of Mona Kuhn. Most of Kuhn's photos have shallow focus, a concept used by the filmmakers to emphasize Chieko's deafness and isolation.

Boubker Ait El Caid was cast as Yussef, the young Moroccan boy who mishandles the rifle, after director Alejandro González Iñárritu saw him playing soccer in the local town plaza.

Director of photography Rodrigo Prieto encountered a problem while filming a track shot where Richard and the villagers carry the wounded Susan to the top of a steep hill: he tried running backwards to get the shot, but each time he tripped, often falling. However, director Alejandro González Iñárritu ruled out using a Steadicam and insisted on hand-held camera work. Finally, key grip Joseph Dianda came up with a solution: Prieto filmed the shot while seated in a hotel chair carried by four grips. The resulting footage became known to crew members as "The Joey Chair Shot".

Rinko Kikuchi went through a year-long audition process before finally gaining the role of Chieko.

17 days before shooting was to commence in Morocco, none of the characters had been cast. The production crew made an announcement in the nearest town via television and radio and in the mosques that actors were needed. Within the next 24 hours, over 200 people showed up hoping to participate. Almost all of them are in the final cut of the film, both as principal characters and as extras.

The scene where Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi) and her father are in the car together was shot without filming permission from the city due to slow Japanese bureaucratic procedures. The crew created "man-made" busy traffic, and began shooting the scene. Later the police started chasing them while still shooting the scene.

Brad Pitt gave up one of the starring roles in The Departed (2006) (a film he co-produced) in order to participate in this film, as he's a longtime fan of Alejandro González Iñárritu's films.

Only Richard and Susan's segment was shot on 16 mm film; the rest of the movie was shot on 35 mm. In the scene where the helicopter finally arrives at the village, there is a slight pause as the 35 mm format kicks in.