babel, or, children in peril

Babel is the first movie I have seen in a theatre since “The Hours.”

Boy, I really miss sitting in a movie theatre, the public aspects, the trust of it, sitting and more or less agreeing to take something in together… even if there is no accord on what was taken in, what was meant, or even the simple differences between people who liked what they saw, and those who did not.

I subtitled this “children in peril” because in each of the remote human settlements, children are in peril. Sometimes we see it, in agonizing depictions or in foreboding; sometimes we don’t, but it’s there on background, in the tensions between people. (My previous distaste for violence hasn’t gone away completely, but I could sit through multiple screenings of The Departed. In contrast, the notion of threatened or suffering children strikes far too close to home.)

But the notion of random, messy connections, one which drove so many laudatory reviews, isn’t really all that miraculous. It’s the world. I expect random connections, and appreciate them. It’s a dead trip, or a slow mental day, when I can’t make them. I’m glad for the filmmaker to show it, but in a way, this shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

Marie had introduced me to the music on a drive to ERCIM, the haunting beauty of a string “atmospheric” piece – Bibo No Aozora – was what still holds me, and its use in the film worked. In the end, perhaps it’s when we don’t bother with words, when we can be present, connecting glances, listening to music in the same chamber, when the babbling is reduced to a gentle, gurgling and benign murmur.

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Filed under Babel, children, communication, Complexity, connections, film, misunderstandings, music, public experiences, violence

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