Sunday September 11
Babel is like the great white elephant of this year's festival, impossible to ignore and luring everyone to it after its splash debut at Cannes.
What are we doing here?
Babel is the worthy successor by Alejandro González Iñárritu to 21 Grams and Amores Perros. Babel rings more as a plea for compassion everywhere, act local think global, a seeking for communication between cultures everywhere. The world is a fractured place, but compassion and healing can take place at the smallest levels to overcome prejudice and misunderstanding. Babel is emotionally wrought, displayed through four apparently diverse storylines with deeply personal performances from the stellar world cast from Brad Pitt to Cate Blanchett to Gael Garcia Bernal, and on the other side of the planet, ranging from locals in the Moroccan desert to the bustle of rebellious Tokyo schoolgirls. Babel tries to break down communication barriers at all levels - how one untimely but not misaimed gunshot by two boys at a bus driving in the desert gets blown up to a terrorist incident - how a wedding party aftermath goes awry - to a deaf teenage girl who is falling out with her father. And watch out there's another Fanning sister - Ellie Fanning, Dakota's sister who plays a key role as one of the children of Pitt and Blanchett. And it all connects.
The key to understanding is to listen - the alternative is silence and Babel.