We talk about the border as a place only, instead of an idea. I believe that the real borders are the ones that exist within us.
Alejandro González Iñárritu, director of Babel
Discussion questions to the film:
What does the Biblical story of Babel in chapter 11 of Genesis illustrate?
In which countries does this film take place?
What languages are spoken by the main persons?
Where do you find acute misunderstandings between persons?
Give a short summary of the plot and the main conflicts in the film.
How well do the actors portray the main characters, do you think??
Which scenes do you think are the most important ones?
Is the story chronological? Are there any flashbacks and/or flash forwards?
What techniques are used to tell the story? (sound-color-camera use)
It is claimed that this film is filled with emotions that need no translation. They are universal. Give examples of this.
Does the film have a clear message, or does it leave room for different solutions?
Your personal evaluation of the film. Give reasons for your view.
To whom would you recommend the film “Babel”?
After having watched the film, write a blog post on one of the following tasks:
The title and the actions in the film strongly indicate that communication and lack of communication, or rather breakdown of communication is a main theme. Discuss and explain how this is reflected in the film.
Another theme related to this might be intercultural communication and challenges represented by globalization. Why is it so difficult to reach out to each other across cultures? Discuss and explain by referring to the film. You may focus on:
Japanese vs. Western culture Mexican vs. American culture American vs. Arab culture
Yet another theme related to communication might be loneliness. How is this reflected in the film? Give examples and explain.
NB! Postponed because of home school – see itslearning for link and task to the film Desert Flower instead.
This year’s OD Project support young refugees from South Sudan. Visit this site: https://www.od.no/pushgrensene to learn more about the project. What do you learn about the country South Sudan and the challenges people are faced with there? Why have many people fled to the neighbour country, Uganda? What are some of the problems they are faced with there? What is the OD Project going to help with?
Write a blog post where you argue why Norwegian students should take part in this year’s OD Project.
Discuss what they tell you about the issues of migration and refugees. What thoughts do these texts provoke in you?
Warshan Shire has said it is important to her to “tell the stories of those people, especially refugees and immigrants, that otherwise wouldn’t be told, or told inaccurately.” What do you think she means by this? Does she succeed in doing so with her poem? Give examples from the text. Can you find similar examples from the other text you read?
4. Immigrant Posters: Discuss these posters and the message they send:
“My Son the Fanatic” is a short story written in 1997 by Hanif Kureishi about a father and a son living in London, and struggling to adapt. The father left Pakistan and loves England, he wants to become as English as possible, because “you can do almost anything here.” The son has never been outside England, but still struggles to find his place in the English society, and is looking for something else, going back to the culture and faith of his ancestors, and becoming more and more angry with the society he sees around himself – the society his father is so in love with.
“Free for All” is a short story written by Moin Ashraf in 1999. This story too depicts a father and a son, this time in the US, the father doing everything “right” to become an upright and successful man in his new country, and being frustrated at seeing his son leaving the ideals of his own country and tradition. It is a culture clash, between a son who has grown up American, and a father who still looks back to and values of his Pakistani homeland.
Write a blog post where you EITHER compare these two stories in terms of father-son relationships and the question of identity and belonging, OR discuss what these two stories say about being an immigrant, and raising a family in a different culture. What are these two stories saying about multiculturalism?