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emotionally wrenching

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Last night a friend and I went to a free screening of "Babel," the new film with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and a cast of thousands, including goats, on three continents.

It was probably one of the most emotionally difficult movies I've ever sat through. Perhaps because I felt so closely all three of the scenarios. The Morocco scenes were filmed in Ouarzazate, MoBob's home province. I grew up an immigrant child in California. And finally I was an exchange student in Japan and studied Japanese language and culture for four years in college. Each scene brought back troublesome and uncomfortable memories and feelings.

The film really played off the contrast between material and emotional well-being. The rich Americans and Japanese were as fragile and vulnerable as their counterparts in Morocco and Mexico. The Moroccans' and the Mexicans' precarious existence depended on wealthy foreigners. At the end of the movie, my first thought was "the tour guide probably lost his job because of all of this." Also, for a troubled married couple, Brad and Cate could've gone to many more luxurious and comfortable destinations in Morocco!

I thought it was a pretty accurate depiction of southern Morocco. If I recall correctly the village where the American couple take refuge is three hours south of Erfoud. Very harsh but beautiful environment. I thought that the paranoia of the foreign tourists and the curiosity of the Moroccan villagers was a bit exaggerated. But the Morocco scenes did make me a little homesick, and there were some dramatic night scenes of Casablanca toward the end.

I also liked the scenes of the deaf/mute Japanese girl in the nightclub, where the point of view alternated between hers (silent) and the "reality" (loud music).

I'm not sure if I would recommend this movie but I'm glad I saw it, however difficult it was to stomach.

Washington Post review
Christian Science Monitor review
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On November 7th, 2006 02:42 pm (UTC), congogirl commented:
I haven't even heard of this movie (not unusual, since I have no TV and have only very selectively been ingesting press of any kind) but now I am intrigued.

Also very intrigued because I spent 4 years studying Japanese language and culture and was an exchange student in Japan.
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On November 7th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Also very intrigued because I spent 4 years studying Japanese language and culture and was an exchange student in Japan.

Yeah, all that effort for a useless language in development work, since all the JICA volunteers speak English or French!
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On November 7th, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC), congogirl replied:
I wasn't thinking development at the time, or I probably would have taken ... Swahili? Spanish? Arabic?

I guess I thought I was in love with Japan and was willing to dedicate 10-15 years to living there - after having visited, but once the honeymoon was over, it wasn't as fun.
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On November 7th, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
I didn't even think about development until Peace Corps, but funnily enough, my recruiter thought I could handle French after he saw my transcript with all those Japanese classes! I wish I'd learned Portuguese in grad school though.
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On November 7th, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC), congogirl replied:
I am thinking about Portuguese - just wish I hadn't missed all the Level 1 classes this fall. Perhaps in the summer? My former advisor from grad school now also lives here and mentioned a grant for a project in Mozambique - I told her when she gets the funding, I want to be her prog. mgr.
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On November 7th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
3,000 irregular verbs!
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On November 7th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC), flemmarde commented:
i'm looking forward to seeing the film and i found your take interesting. also the reviews. one review implies the children belong to someone else and the other that they belong to brad pitt and cate blanchett. which is it? coz when i saw the trailer i assumed they were theirs.
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On November 7th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
The kids are theirs.

The goats gave an Oscar-winning performance.
[User Picture]
On November 7th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC), flemmarde replied:
yay for the goats :)
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