After carefully watching Babel and taking insightful notes on the film’s context, differing ideologies and political infra-structures (hegemonic influences), please list only one example from the film of a particular cultural stereotype. Then, discuss how this example you chose might have (potentially) been received by an American audience versus the actual same ethnic/culture audience the incident took place (in the film).
Babel’s plot is dispersed among several countries and portrays the characters in a way that illustrates how global communications is flattening our world.This film is truly an international work, from the production people to the writer and the cast.This film examines the varying perspectives of the characters in the aftermath of a tragic accidental shooting. I will focus on the Japanese character, Chieko. She is the daughter of the hunter, who gave the rifle to his former guide in Morocco. The emotionally challenged deaf/mute teenager has recently lost her mother to suicide. This character expresses her grief through extreme sexual acting-out. Another frustration relates to hegemonic attitudes of the hearing teenage boys that hang out where she does. I will focus on the scene in which she enters the disco with her girlfriends and the new acquaintances.
These new acquaintances have fed the girls whiskey and mind-altering substances. This forges instant friendships. Chieko feels accepted in this group. One of this guys, Haruki, shows an instant attraction to her. The sequence leading to the entrance of the disco shows the fast pace of Japanese culture through fast-moving citizens, subway, wide-shot of the busy streets and her drug-induced enjoyment of the simple things in life, like swinging and playing with the boys in the water. For once in the movie, Chieko is enjoying life. Haruki has his arm around her and she can sign with him.
The scene’s music transition before they enter. Shot of the subway, travelers, and the chaotic motion of the traffic segue into the bright lights, lasers, smoke and the mass of bodies dancing. Haruki takes her purse and stuffs it into a locker and drags her to the dance floor. September/The Joker by Fatboy Slim is moving the crowd. The audience hear what she hears intermittently. NOTHING. At first she seems overwhelmed but finally she smiles. She observes the people around her. She feels the energy and starts mimicking the movements of dancers. The audience can see her self-confidence and she laughs for the first time in the film. Unfortunately, this feeling does not last long.
The composition of the shots range from extreme close-ups of Chieko, unfocused features giving the effect of the drug wearing off and the crowd enjoying themselves. As the song changes, Bootsy Collins can be heard making the statement, THE JUNGLE S GETTING WILD, BABY. This is the counterpoint of the scene. The music speeds up, the composition of the shots get weirder and she shuts her eyes closed for awhile. When she opens them, she notices her girlfriend and Haruki making out.Her smile disappears and she stops dancing. Once again the audience experiences her auditory POV, no sound. She waves and leaves. From my experience, I can say that she was more depressed and confused than before she took the drugs.
I believe that Chieko represents a stereotypical teenager, in either America or Japan culture. I understand these two cultures are different. In my opinion, all teenagers want acceptance from their peers and feel self-confident.
As far as audience reception of this scene, I believe that the impact has to do with experiencing the disco through her perspective of silence. I would guess that most of the audience, either Japanese or American, have not experienced a silent disco.