THE NAKED DVD: BABEL

The Naked DVD is a new, regular column that spotlights DVDs that have been stripped of any or all special features. Most often this is the first issued DVD of a given movie that usually contain the bare bones supplements such as a trailer and nothing else. Hence the term naked. Our goal here at Behind The Scenes is to coax the studios and production companies to come up with a spectacular version of the mentioned DVD through our own wish list of special features. Hopefully, our honorable mentions could influence the next version of the said DVD to be released with all the bells and whistles that the movie deserves of the filmmakers’ vision. 

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Babel is a powerful triptych of loosely connected stories spanning the globe from Morocco to Japan to Mexico. Inarritu’s affinity for working in the multiple storyline format has made him an agile storyteller of the form. Dominating the awards season a few months ago, Babel follows Amores Perros and 21 Grams, both engrossing stories on their own, to complete a film trilogy. Bending time and space, the stories in Babel form a collage of contrasting landscapes informed by universal emotions.  

In Babel, the Moroccan story of innocence lost and burnt in a second of carefree child’s play is especially heart tugging. The Japanese chapter is a story of isolation and detachment as a deaf teenager tries to connect with the world around her and her human longing only brings her more heartbreak. The US-Mexican story is centered around immigration as a nanny takes her two American wards to Mexico for a wedding and suffers the consequences. The film is ripe with social commentary about the state of the world and the cultural barriers that prevents any meaningful interaction from taking place. But there is a soft heart and empathy for the world it depicts behind Innaratu’s lens. 

Watching the DVD was less than satisfactory. Needless to say, for such a global project with its biblical implications, there is nary a special feature to cast light on the film. Besides a trailer, we’re only offered the theatrical version of the film. We know that the studio (Paramount Vantage) is stockpiling its special edition for a future date but The Naked DVD is here to present its wish list for this heretofore future Babel DVD: 

  • A director’s commentary from Inarritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (although we’ve heard they have stopped collaborating) 
  • A behind-the-scenes documentary that shows the shooting of all three stories in different continents. We’re thinking at least 45 minutes. 
  • The collaboration between Inarritu, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett – only because their story was a very intimate story set in a constricted setting for most of the film. 
  • Scoring the movie with composer Gustavo Santaolalla (who won an Oscar for Babel and previously for Brokeback Mountain) 
  • Editing tricks for a narrative this sprawling and disjointed in its structure 
  • A focus on the local actors of each storyline and how Inarritu communicated and worked with them 


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