On the Beach

There are good reasons to go to Cannes–starlets, possibly even topless; and bad reasons–pontificating anti-American movie directors. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, director of “Babel,” is one of the latter:

The United States has an “obsession” with power and is making mistakes in the way it pressures other countries to cooperate in its “war on terror”, a leading Mexican director said at the Cannes film festival.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu made the jabs during the presentation of his film, “Babel”, which itself provides subtle criticism of the US.

Here are Inarritu’s subtle criticisms:

There is an obsession in the United States today… about, you know, showing the power but at the same time having the fear of the other.

“Fear of the other”–there might be a creakier cliche somewhere, but I can’t think of one.

The border, what is happening, is terrible. The way they try to pretend that everybody is a terrorist.

Well, that’s certainly what we’ve always said. Everybody is a terrorist. That must be why we let millions of people into the country, legally and illegally.

The government of the United States is pressuring other countries to capture terrorists and sometimes they make big mistakes. That is a very, very sad thing that is happening all around the world, using political pressure or econonomical pressure to make people act like that.

Of course, if it weren’t for us, no one would want to capture terrorists. The British, the Spanish, the Moroccans, the Balinese–but for us, they would enjoy being blown up. Reporters always claim that they keep their biases out of their reporting, but film directors don’t operate under that constraint. So “Babel’s” anti-Americanism is front and center:

[T]wo [of the stories in the movie] hold clues to Inarritu’s perception of the US.

One of the two recounts the experience of a US couple, played by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, who are victims of an irresponsible act by a small boy in the Moroccan desert that rapidly becomes a full-blown “terrorist act” in US reports.

The other, close to Inarritu’s heart, is about a Mexican woman who comes up against the inflexibility and heartlessness of US authorities when she illegally crosses the US-Mexican border with the two children of her American employer.

Yeah, right. If only. Of course, the French eat this kind of stuff up:

The movie was so well received at its screenings Tuesday that critics counted it among the frontrunners for the Cannes festival’s Palme d’Or award to be given out on Sunday.

Apparently these people are born without BS detectors.


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