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Babel

Thu Feb 19, 2015 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
is a 2006 American-Mexican-French drama film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga, starring an ensemble cast. The multi-narrative drama completes González Iñárritu s Death Trilogy, following Amores perros and 21

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Arts, Culture, Performing Arts (Cinema)

galería de arte carlos olachea boucsiéguez

Antonio Navarro s/n entre Ignacio Manuel Altamirano y Héroes de Independencia Zona Centro
La Paz, Baja California Sur

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Babel focuses on four interrelated sets of situations and characters, and many events are revealed out of sequence. The following plot summary has been simplified and thus does not reflect the exact sequence of the events on screen.

Interestingly, the three settings for the plot are located on approximately the same latitude with each approximately 120° apart in longitude.

Morocco

In a remote desert location in Morocco, Abdullah, a goatherder, buys a high-powered .270 Winchester M70 rifle and a box of ammunition from his neighbor Hassan Ibrahim to shoot the jackals that have been preying on his goats. Abdullah gives the rifle to his two young sons, Yussef and Ahmed, and sends them out to tend the herd. The film has already established that there is a degree of competitiveness between the two brothers. The older is critical of the younger for spying on his sister while she changes her clothes (the film shows that she is aware of his peeping). Competing between themselves and doubtful of the rifle's purported three-kilometer range, they decide to test it out, aiming first at rocks, a moving car on a highway below, and then at a bus carrying Western tourists on the same highway traveling in the opposite direction to the car. Yussef's bullet hits the bus, critically wounding Susan Jones, an American woman from San Diego [6][7] who is traveling with her husband Richard on vacation. The two boys realize what has happened and flee the scene, hiding the rifle in the hills that night.

Glimpses of television news programs reveal that the US government holds the shooting to be a terrorist act and is pressuring the Moroccan government to apprehend the culprits. Having traced the rifle back to Hassan, the Moroccan police descend quickly on his house and roughly question him and his wife until they reveal that the rifle was given to him by a Japanese man, and then sold to Abdullah. The two boys see the police on the road and confess to their father what they have done. (They believe at the time that the American woman has died of her wounds.) The three flee from their house, retrieving the rifle as they go. The police corner them on the rocky slope of a hill and open fire. After his brother is hit in the leg, Yussef returns fire, striking one police officer in the shoulder. The police continue shooting, eventually hitting Ahmed in the back, possibly fatally injuring him. As his father rages with grief, Yussef eventually surrenders and confesses to all the crimes, begging clemency for his family and medical assistance for his brother. The police take him into custody. The family's fate is unresolved.

The movie's first plot is interspersed with scenes of Richard and Susan. They came on vacation in Morocco to get away from things and mend their own marital woes. The death of Sam, their infant third child, to SIDS has strained their marriage significantly as they struggle to communicate their frustration, guilt, and blame. When Susan is shot on the tour bus, Richard orders the bus driver to the nearest village with a doctor (the village is named Tazarine in the film). There a local veterinarian sews up the wound to stem the loss of blood. The other tourists wait for some time, but they eventually demand to leave, fearing the heat and worried that they may be the target of further attacks. Since Susan cannot travel by bus in her condition, Richard threatens the tour group to wait for the ambulance, which never arrives, and eventually the bus leaves without them while Richard is on the phone. The couple remains behind with the bus's tour guide, Anwar, still waiting for transport to a hospital (having contacted the US embassy using the village's only phone). Political issues between the US and Morocco prevent quick help, but a helicopter comes at last. After five days in the hospital, Susan recovers and is sent home.

Japan

Simultaneously, the film tells the story of Chieko Wataya (綿谷 千恵子 Wataya Chieko, Rinko Kikuchi), a rebellious, deaf Japanese teenage girl, traumatized by the recent suicide of her mother. She is bitter towards her father, Yasujiro Wataya (綿谷 ヤスジロウ Wataya Yasujirō, Kōji Yakusho) and boys her age, and is sexually frustrated. She starts exhibiting sexually provocative behavior, partly in response to dismissive comments from a member of her volleyball team. While out with friends, Chieko finds a teenage boy attractive, and following an unsuccessful attempt at socialising, takes off her panties and exposes herself in an act combining flirtation and contempt. Chieko eventually encounters two police detectives who question her about her father. She finds one of the detectives, Kenji Mamiya (真宮 賢治 Mamiya Kenji, Satoshi Nikaido), attractive. She invites Mamiya back to the high-rise apartment she shares with her father. Wrongly supposing that the detectives are investigating her father's involvement in her mother's suicide, she explains to Mamiya that her father was asleep when her mother jumped off the balcony and that she witnessed this herself. It turns out the detectives are, in fact, investigating a hunting trip Yasujiro took in Morocco. Yasujiro is an avid hunter and during a trip in Morocco he gave his rifle, as a gift, to his very skilled hunting guide, Hassan, who at the beginning of the film sold the rifle to Abdullah.

Soon after learning this, Chieko reveals her real motive in inviting Mamiya to her home. She approaches him nude and attempts to seduce him. He resists her approaches but comforts her as she bursts into tears. Before he leaves, Chieko writes him a note, indicating that she does not want him to read it until he is gone. Leaving, the detective crosses paths with Yasujiro and explains the situation with the rifle. Yasujiro replies that he did indeed give it as a gift; there was no black market involvement. About to depart, Mamiya offers condolences for the wife's suicide. Yasujiro, though, is confused by the mention of a balcony and angrily replies that "My wife shot herself in the head. Chieko was the first to find the body. I've explained this to the police many times." Chieko is leaning on the balcony (still nude) when her father enters the apartment, and the two embrace. After leaving, the detective stops at a bar to read Chieko's note. The note's contents are not revealed.

United States/Mexico

A third subplot takes place in the United States and Mexico where Richard and Susan's Mexican nanny, Amelia (Adriana Barraza), tends to Debbie (Elle Fanning) and Mike (Nathan Gamble), their twin children, in their San Diego, California home while they are in Morocco. When Richard and Susan are detained because of Susan's injury, Amelia is forced to take care of the children longer than planned and becomes worried that she will miss her son's wedding. Unable to secure any other help to care for them, she calls Richard for advice, who impatiently tells her to cancel the wedding. Without his permission Amelia decides to take the children with her to the wedding in a rural community near Tijuana, Mexico, rather than miss it. Her nephew Santiago (Gael García Bernal) offers to take her and the twins to the wedding. They cross the border uneventfully and the children are soon confronted by the Mexican culture and street scene. The revelry of the wedding extends well into the evening, but rather than staying the night in Mexico with the children, Amelia decides to drive back to the States with Santiago. He has been drinking heavily and the border guards become suspicious of his behavior and the American children in the car. Amelia has passports for all four travelers, but no letter of consent from the children's parents allowing her to take them out of the United States. Intoxicated, Santiago trespasses the border. He soon abandons Amelia and the children in the desert, attempting to lead off the police (his final fate is not revealed). Stranded without food and water, Amelia and the children are forced to spend the night in the desert. Realizing that they will all die if she cannot get help, Amelia leaves the children behind to find someone, ordering them not to move. She eventually finds a U.S. Border Patrol officer. After he places Amelia under arrest, she and the officer travel back to where she had left the children, but they are not there. Amelia is taken back to a Border Patrol station, where she is eventually informed that the children have been found and that Richard, while very furious and outraged, has agreed not to press charges. However, she will be deported from the US where she has been working illegally. Her protests that she had been in the US for 16 years and has looked after the children (whom she refers to as "her children") for the duration of their lives do not secure lenient treatment. Near the end of the movie, the audience sees her meeting her son on the Mexican side of the Tijuana crossing, still in the red dress she wore for the wedding, now torn and dirty from her night in the desert.

At the end of the film, a phone conversation between Amelia and Richard is repeated from Richard's end of the phone. This is the original phone call at the beginning of Amelia's story. In this conversation it can be heard that he is allowing Amelia to go to her son's wedding because Susan's sister will be able to watch the twins. It is not until the next morning on another phone call they learn that Susan's sister cannot take care of them and thus Amelia is forced to take the children with her.

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