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Media Studies Exam Practice

Uploaded by Appleman on Dec 27, 2007

Show in detail how one film demonstrates innovation of technique and originality of theme

The over riding theme in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarrito’s movie Babel is the idea that we are all connected, as if we live in one large village. The techniques he employs to show this are highly innovative.

Babel has an unconventional narrative which follows three different stories. These stories occur in various different parts of the world – Tokyo, Morocco, and the US / Mexican border. These places couldn’t really be more different – Tokyo is the epitome of modernity and the hub of advances in technology, Morocco is a barren, desolate, desert country in North Africa, and the border between the US and Mexico is really the only place in the world where the rich Western countries come face to face with the poverty stricken Third World. Tensions here are high, and this is shown with great success in Babel.

At first sight, it is hard to understand why these three stories occur in the same movie – they can't possibly have anything to do with each other. Wrong. These three stories are inextricably linked by events that occur before the movie is filmed. But these events aren’t bought to light till late in the movie.

The narrative isn't just unconventional, but it's also non linear. This is shown simply by time. It went from being daylight on the US border to daylight in Tokyo to daylight in Morocco before repeating the sequence. This basically means that the events unfolding before us couldn’t have been simultaneous because the time difference between the US and Japan should have made it the middle of the night in one place when the other was basking in the midday sun. But this did not happen.

The multiple narratives being shown don’t conform exactly to Todorov’s narrative theory of equilibrium – disruption – equilibrium. The movie doesn’t appear to show any of these equilibriums, but focuses fully on the disruptions. These disruptions, even though they are from completely different stories, have many similarities.

One of the similarities is understanding, or the lack of understanding when it comes to other forms of language. In Morocco, we see Brad Pitt’s character struggling to understand the Moroccans, the border police at the US / Mexican border have problems communicating with Santiago, and notably the difficulty that Cheiko, the deaf girl, and the other characters have with understanding each other in...

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Uploaded by:   Appleman

Date:   12/27/2007

Category:   Film

Length:   4 pages (1,008 words)

Views:   4523

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