Babel offers excellent commentary on human carelessness and fallibility and how modern society is unable (or unwilling) to accommodate these shortcomings. People just go about their business, doing their jobs and what's expected of them. Blind institutions have usurped interpersonal connections and any sense of compassion. And even when empathy is established, people are constrained by their job obligations or societal expectations. The various stories include,
- A woman is shot by accident while traveling in Morocco, which in turn causes an international row that prevents help from actually getting to her.
- Unable to find someone who can watch the kids, or to obtain permission to take the day off, an illegal alien caregiver takes two children with her as she travels in Mexico for her son's wedding.
- A depressed and sexually confused deaf-mute Japanese teenager tries to cope with her mother's suicide.
- Carelessness during shooting practice goes horribly wrong for two young boys.
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel is gut-wrenching and Kafkaesque (I'm thinking of Josef K's bureaucratic nightmare in The Trial) -- but where Kafka provided dreamy surrealism, Babel only offers the hard truth and bitter reality. It's a hard watch, but it never degrades to the point of complete hopelessness and cynicism.
If anything, you'll feel a bit more connected to your fellow man.