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BABEL: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
In the remote sands of the Moroccan desert, a rifle shot rings out - detonating a chain of events that will link an American tourist couple's (Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett) frantic struggle to survive, two Moroccan boys (Said Tarchani, Boubker Ait El Caid) involved in an accidental crime, a nanny (Adriana Barraza) illegally crossing into Mexico with two American children (Elle Fanning, Nathan Gamble) driven by her unreliable nephew (Gael Garcia Bernal) and a Japanese teen rebel (Rinko Kikuchi) whose father (Koji Yakusho) is sought by the police in Tokyo.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Warmly received at its premiere screening at Cannes (projection glitch at the 90 minute mark notwithstanding), Babel is a layered and complex film that is accessible and painfully well observed about the human condition. The writer and director are cinematic collaborators with good pedigree (Amores Perros and my less favoured 21 Grams) who have forged a dramatic and beautifully made film from gaunt material.

Babel's biblical allegory seems at first rather grandiose, but it turns out to be not so much a manipulation of the old story but a confirmation of its timeless relevance. Man's impudence at building a tower to heaven - requiring much co-operation - has a positive side which the biblical story glosses over. It is in the likewise admirable pursuits of men that flaws and misconnections, bad judgments and simple bad luck pile on top of each other to build a tower of rubble that collapses despite the good intentions.

Cate Blanchett's character has to suffer both emotional and physical pain as she becomes an accidental victim of childish bravura, and she excels with a minimalistic performance that is nonetheless moving. Brad Pitt develops a tense gravitas for his role as her husband amidst the crisis, and Adriana Barraza is outstanding as the Mexican nanny, Amelia, who is left to look after the children. Both youngsters deliver sensational, naturalistic performances that are heartwrenching, and all the Moroccan actors (and some non-professionals, too) create wonderfully real characters.

The film's tapestry of incident, accident and connectedness across the globe from Los Angeles to Tokyo and the Moroccan desert, is in fact based on a simple trajectory that is easy to comprehend and yet amazing to consider.

Babel is a work of lasting value that satisfies cinema lovers and fuels our engagement with film.

There's a behind the scenes featurette and theatrical trailer on the DVD.

Published June 7, 2007



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

BABEL: DVD (MA)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, Gael Garcia Bernal, Koji Yakusho, Peter Wright, Harriet Walter, Trevor Martin, Matyelok Gibbs, Claudine Acs, Andre Oumansky, Michael Maloney, Dermot Crowley

PRODUCER: Steve Golin, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, John Kilik

DIRECTOR: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

SCRIPT: Guillermo Arriaga

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rodrigo Prieto

EDITOR: Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione

MUSIC: Gustavo Santaolalla

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Brigitte Broch

RUNNING TIME: 142 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2006

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailer, Common ground: making of featurette

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

DVD RELEASE: June 7, 2007







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