Onstage with moderator Curtis Hanson.

An Evening with Director Alejandro González Iñárritu

October 18, 2006 A Latino Committee Event
The themes of the human condition and the yearning for connection were explored as DGA members viewed director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film Babel in the Guild’s Los Angeles Theatre on Wednesday, October 18, 2006. The film is the third part of a trilogy, which includes Iñárritu’s debut feature, Amores Perros and its follow-up, 21 Grams.

To further explore both the implications of the film and its genesis, the DGA Latino Committee presented “An Evening with Alejandro González Iñárritu” which featured a Q&A about the making of Babel with the director, moderated by 1997 DGA Award nominee Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile, In Her Shoes).

Following the screening and a welcome and introduction by DGA Latino Committee Co-Chair Jay Torres, Iñárritu and Hanson took the stage to discuss the film, its themes and the difficulties involved in the making the complex film that interweaves four stories of four sets of characters from varying cultures and classes.

“It was like giving birth to a kid with four heads,” Iñárritu laughed. “It was painful. My challenge was to put four stories, three continents, so many characters speaking in at least five languages, and translate it into one single language. I had to find a visual language featuring cinematic grammar that would make sense. But at the same time I wanted to talk about diversity and how apparently conventional we are, so I have to give some character to each story but at the same time find some union. ”

Iñárritu described the care he took to design different looks for the different locales during the arduous shoot that took a year to complete. He was able to make the process work by maintaining a tight-knit core group of production personnel with whom he traveled from location to location. Both he and Hanson singled out cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto for special praise for the look of the film. Prieto also shot the other two films of the trilogy and Iñárritu spoke fondly of his friend calling him “more than my right arm, he’s my right eye.”

Prompted by Hanson’s observation that Babel not only continues the theme of concern for the welfare of children expressed in Amores Perros and 21 Grams, but also brings it to fruition, Iñárritu explained that this is one of his personal concerns that even affected the shooting of a pivotal scene in the film. “To kill a kid in a film by a gunshot is something that could be considered immoral,” said Iñárritu. “I think it was Hitchcock who said that you should never kill a kid onscreen, and I agree with him. But I had to make a decision because these kinds of scenes really stay with you a long time emotionally. It was very painful, but my thought was thousands of kids have died since 2003 in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we don’t see it on TV because they’re banned from showing it. So I had to show that every day kids all over the world are dying from bullets.”

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