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Use "Babel" to Create Your Own Japanese Youth Culture Film

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Initial post: Nov 28, 2008 11:23:18 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2008 11:27:29 PM PST
Anyone, who is a fan of the film "Babel" knows, that the film is made up of multiple story threads, that take place around the world, which collectively speak about the theme of mankind's need to be able to communicate. I am a big fan of films, that have to do with 'Japanese Youth Culture'. So it is no surprise, that my favorite parts of "Babel" take place in Tokyo. If you take certain chapters from the "Babel" DVD and run them one after another, you can pretty much create your own short film, which can for the most part, survive independently from the rest of the film. The Japanese section is the story of a teenage deaf/mute girl, who is coming to terms with both her own sexuality and the death of her mother. The execution of this part of "Babel" is simply beautiful. Rinko Kikuchi, who plays the deaf girl was nominated for an Academy Award. Why she did not win is beyond me. Everything from the acting to the cinematography to the soundtrack score is a revelation.

Now, I only own the single disc version of "Babel". I don't know if the other editions are any different, but this is how I run the 'Menu Chapter Selection' in order to watch this version of the Japanese thread of the film.

4. Volleyball Game
8. Police Visit
12. Tokyo Night
16. Seduction
20. Silent Shout
23. Father and Daughter

If these chapters are run together, you will see a short film that lasts a little over an hour. It is quite a moving story. I would love to know if anyone else has viewed this section of "Babel" in this manner and if so, what is your reaction to it?

Posted on Feb 12, 2009 8:57:33 AM PST
How I viewed this:

- Japanese deafmute schoolgirl tries to get her dentist to rape her, fails
- Flashes her furry crotch at the boys in the J-Pop
- Takes ecstasy in a nightclub, potentially hoping to get raped, fails
- Has some sort of angsty-teen freakout involving her mother, invites that young homicide detective over and tries to get him to rape her, fails

What I learned: She is the real life personification of the Japanese Hentai schoolgirl. The world around her, however, is not the world of Hentai.

Nothing in Babel was executed well; it was a pretentious mess of heavy-handed and ambiguous moral messages being beaten against the viewer's head like a hammer until there's nothing left but liquid bonemeal. It was a psychological snuff film, with fictional characters being tortured into oblivion for the sake of garnering audience pity, and a repeat of what happened with "Crash".

And it didn't work this time around. That is why the movie didn't win anything.

Also, the movie had nothing to do with "need to communicate"; everyone communicated just fine to me, except for Chieko, who was intentionally a tasteless and offensive caricature of a Japanese Hentai schoolgirl nymphomaniac.

And to pre-empt them if they so come, I am not the "BAH! Typical American needing your car chases and gunfights to be entertained" type of person. I prefer my movies to come with real acting and story, and not be stupid actionflicks or pretentious, arrogant art films. "Babel" is the latter kind.

Posted on Feb 14, 2009 11:42:27 PM PST
Then I'm going to take that as a "no" for a second tub of popcorn at the "Babel" film festival.

Posted on Feb 20, 2009 10:03:14 AM PST
I would certainly enjoy eating popcorn for an psyche-snuff film like "Babel". For a second viewing, I might even laugh at the attempts to torture our emotions into pity.
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Discussion in:  Babel forum
Participants:  2
Total posts:  4
Initial post:  Nov 28, 2008
Latest post:  Feb 20, 2009

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