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A chat with "Babel" director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Posted at 4:50 PM on November 17, 2006 by Euan Kerr (1 Comments)

Every once in a while opportunity knocks in this business, and the oppertunity knocking this week was to do a phone interview with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. His film "Babel" with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal, and a host of other actors from around the world presents a series of intertwined stories which show how language joins and divides us. It's an approach he used in his earlier films "Amores perros" and "21 Grams."

Inarritu says he is exhausted after completing "Babel," but on the phone he was lively and engaged in talking about his film.

On why he likes working with interconnecting stories: "I like the fact that they are, in my point of view, very entertaining first. And the reason I think they are very entertaining is because there's a sense of inevitability in them, in order that they will clash and they will collapse, they will hit each other, and the audience knows that. But they are inevitable but they are not predictable, and that tension that creates in the audience is food. It's a good emotional tension that it creates, and I like that."

On working with a cast spread across the world and speaking several different languages: "It was complicated, really challenging, you know. Because directing non-actors in languages you don't speak, it's a really difficult challenge. And then combine it with actors on the scale of Caye Blanchett or Brad Pitt, obviously that makes the equation even more difficult. But it was a very rewarding experience."

On the reports of a dispute between Inarritu and his long-time collaborator screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga: "I think we are both very sad about some press trying to do speculation the ending, the natural ending, of the relationship that has run its course naturally after nine years of a very great collaboration. We got three films that we are very proud about. I think it is natural that he wants to explore with other partners and other directors. I want work with other writersor people and I think that's a natural thing."

On how he judges whether a film is successful: "I have to say have never felt so proud of a movie. I think with this film I got exactly what I wanted: spiritually, thematically, formally, I really feel proud about it. It was a huge challenge, a huge mountain to climb, something that was crzy from the beginning, very ambitious, and even just to finish the film was just a huge relief for me just to know that I had climbed that mountain. And when I saw it in Cannes for the first time with almost 2,000 people, the reactions were overwhelming. That moment for me, that's success."

On his taste in films: "I like entertaining films, I don't like boring, artsy, pretentious films. I'm used to films that entertain me, and to entertain that doesn't mean like to be silly or stupid or violent necessarily. Great entertainment for me: it's about emotions, about to provoke ideas and emotions, that's what I like to do. To be provoked, to be shaped, to be moved."

Inarritu says he will rest now, but he has already begun planning his next film which he expects will be completed in a couple of year. "It will be a very complicated one. I guess I like to complicate my life!"

It was a great interview, but sadly technology failed us and the tape sounds pretty terrible. If you are up for it you can listen here.

Comments (1)

I would love to have Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu's working E-Mail address... If anyone has it can you please give to me I would very much like to speak with him about a movie I am currently writing and would very much like him to help me get it going... PLEASE thanks...

Posted by Alexander Gabriel Lujan | December 16, 2007 6:25 PM

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