The Art of Combining Time

         As time progressed in the history of the cinema, new and alternative styles emerged, one of which was changing the liner structure of time in order to tell many stories from many perspectives. This idea began to culminate in the 90’s with the emergence of the postmodern style where many narratives were combined to create a film. Terrantino’s 1994 Pulp Fiction was the most notable of the decade, yet near the turn of the century, Aejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, with his first film, Amores Perros (2000) took the style over, producing a line of films that not only dominate the Mexican market, but have bled into the American industry.

         From Amores Perros till 2006’s Babel, Inarritu has captured the audience by telling the stories of all his characters with no regard to time, allowing the viewer to melt the story in their own eyes to what they want, yet concludes the films with a sense of closure. Babel, the latest in the series, stars Brad Pitt, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Kate Blanchett, in a tale that spans the globe, revealing the interwoven lives of those living in different countries.

         It is only through watching the entire film that is obvious how the stories fit together. There is Brad Pitt‘s character, Richard, attempting to save the life of his wife, Susan (Cate Blanchett), after she was shot by a rifle in the middle of Morocco. The story of his children in America being borrowed by their nanny to attend her son’s wedding, the tale of a daughter of a prominent business man and her search to find intimate contact, and the story of the shooters in Morocco.

         By the end of the film it is obvious that these tales reflect the communication difficulties of the times of the story of the tower of Babel, not to mention the American definition of the word. Whether it be the fear from the children in Morocco after shooting at a bus of travelers, or the miscommunication of the nanny after trying to come back across the border from Mexico, the film shows how effective communication could have restrained the conflicts. By the combination of this type of metaphor into a film so non-linear, the effect grasps the viewer and fulfills the expectations.

Taylor Sutton

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