Character: Richard
Release Date: 10 November 2006
Directed By: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Written By: Guillermo Arriaga
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Tagline: If You Want to be Understood…Listen
MPAA Rating: R
Produced by: Central Films, Dune Films, Media Rights Capital, Zeta Film
Distributed by: Paramount Vantage
Budget: $25,000,000 (estimated)
Filming Dates: 2 May 2005 – 1 December 2005

Brad Pitt…Richard
Cate Blanchett…Susan
Adriana Barraza…Amelia
Elle Fanning…Debbie
Nathan Gamble…Mike
Gael García Bernal…Santiago
Rinko Kikuchi…Chieko
Kôji Yakusho…Yasujiro

Filming Locations:
Azabu-Juban, Tokyo, Japan
Casablanca, Morocco
Ibaragi, Japan
Ouarzazate, Morocco
San Diego, California, USA
Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Sonora, Mexico
Tazarine, Morocco
Tijuana, Baja California Norte, Mexico

4 interlocking stories all connected by a single gun all converge at the end and reveal a complex and tragic story of the lives of humanity around the world and how we truly aren’t all that different. In Morocco, a troubled married couple are on vacation trying to work out their differences. Meanwhile, a Moroccan herder buys a rifle for his sons so they can keep the jackals away from his herd. A girl in Japan dealing with rejection, the death of her mother, the emotional distance of her father, her own self-consciousness, and a disability among many other issues, deals with modern life in the enormous metropolis of Tokyo, Japan. Then, on the opposite side of the world the married couple’s Mexican nanny takes the couple’s 2 children with her to her son’s wedding in Mexico, only to come into trouble on the return trip. Combined, it provides a powerful story and an equally powerful looking glass into the lives of seemingly random people around the world and it shows just how connected we really are.

Trivia & Facts:
Rinko Kikuchi went through a year-long audition process before finally gaining the role of Chieko.

Boubker Ait El Caid was cast as Yussef, the young Moroccan boy who mishandles the rifle, after director Alejandro González Iñárritu saw him playing soccer in the local town plaza.

Brad Pitt gave up one of the starring roles in The Departed (2006) (a film he co-produced) in order to participate in this film, as he’s a longtime fan of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s films.

Since each story was filmed at different times and on different continents, some of the cast members never met their counterparts until the film’s premiere.

Actress Adriana Barraza gained 35 pounds for her role as Amelia.

Actress Adriana Barraza, in real life, has had a long history of heart problems including two minor heart attacks. Despite this, she still insisted on carrying co-star Elle Fanning around in the desert for the two days of filming of Amelia walking in the desert with Mike and Debbie.

17 days before shooting was to commence in Morocco, none of the characters had been cast. The production crew made an announcement in the nearest town via television and radio and in the mosques that actors were needed. Within the next 24 hours, over 200 people showed up hoping to participate. Almost all of them are in the final cut of the film, both as principal characters and as extras.

The scene where Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi) and her father are in the car together was shot without filming permission from the city due to slow Japanese bureaucratic procedures. The crew created “man-made” busy traffic, and began shooting the scene. Later the police started chasing them while still shooting the scene.

Only Richard and Susan’s segment was shot on 16 mm film; the rest of the movie was shot on 35 mm. In the scene where the helicopter finally arrives at the village, there is a slight pause as the 35 mm format kicks in.

The color red is prominently seen in all four segments of the film. For example, Yussef, the Moroccan boy who accidentally shoots Susan, wears a red jacket that says “Morocco” on the back, while Amelia wears an elaborate red dress, causing her to stand out; Chieko frequently uses a red pen to write notes to people who can’t understand sign language, and the seats on Richard and Susan’s bus are red.

Director of Photography Rodrigo Prieto encountered a problem while filming a track shot where Richard and the villagers carry the wounded Susan to the top of a steep hill: he tried running backwards to get the shot, but each time he tripped, often falling. However, Director Alejandro González Iñárritu ruled out using a Steadicam and insisted on hand-held camera work. Finally, Key Grip Joseph Dianda came up with a solution: Prieto filmed the shot while seated in a hotel chair carried by four grips. The resulting footage became known to crew members as “The Joey Chair Shot”.

The shallow depth of field in Chieko’s sequences is a nod to the photography of Mona Kuhn. Most of Kuhn’s photos have shallow focus, a concept used by the filmmakers to emphasize Chieko’s deafness and isolation.

Almost all of the film, even the driving scenes, was shot using a hand-held camera.

From the gallery

Richard: What about you? How many wives do you have?
Anwar: I can only afford one.

Richard: [to other tourists] You leave, I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you!

Richard: This is your fucked-up country, it’s your responsibility!

External Links
Official website

SB Store (US)
Babel (Blu-ray)
Babel (DVD)
Babel (HD DVD)
Babel (Two-Disc Special Collector’s Edition)
Babel (2 Disc Special Edition)
Babel (OST)
Babel: A Film by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Photobook)

SB Store (UK)
Babel (DVD)
Babel (Blu-ray)
Babel (2 Disc Collector’s Edition)
Babel (HD DVD)
Babel (OST)
Babel: A Film By Alejandro Gozalez Inarritu (Photobook)