Sample Essay on Babel and the Global Hollywood Gaze

A world cinema normally includes all the aspects present in all sorts of films ranging from the first world to non-first world films. Babel uses a variety of setting in four different countries that include the United States of America, Morocco, Mexico and Japan. The film also employs the use of six languages which are interpreted to be understood by a global audience. The film also makes use of transnational artists and involves several of border crossings. Interestingly, the film is also made by a transnational director. The director brings together a world audience using his third world perspective. All these features give Babel a rich mixture of both first world and non-first world characteristics. In view of this, Babel becomes a very good example of film of globalization that shares very many elements of the foreign films and can therefore be considered as a nice example of world cinema.

The movie is an exposition of third world people and their culture. However, the cultural objects in this case tend to be more significant than the people themselves (Shaw, 2011). Taking the audience through four different cultural hubs, the director creates a sense of appreciation in the audience concerning other people’s culture. The film touches on very fashionable social issues in different parts of the world. Nevertheless, the film favors the view point of Hollywood world cinema. This is because the movie focuses much on the socio-political issues of the United States of America in all the four settings with an exception of the Japanese setting. For instance, when Amelia makes the disastrous decision of taking the Susan and Richard’s children with her across the border to Mexico for her son’s wedding, she gets arrested. The immigration authority of the United States then denies her a chance to get back into the United States of America, though she had worked there for many years. This addresses the Mexican immigration issue which is a North American concern. The shooting of Susan by Yessef in Morocco addresses the issue on the war against terrorism that the United States is concerned about.

While other cultures are being explored in the movie, the Western Culture is seemingly depicted at almost every point in the film. The audience is able to appreciate the Mexican culture from the view point of the two American children. From the curiosity and freedom of Mike and Debbie, the audience is taken through different plots that depict the Mexican culture; from the way Mexican children play together to how a Mexican wedding is conducted. Basically, the film depicts the American concerns in different plots and settings (Shaw, 2011).

The Japanese storyline addresses the question of what exactly makes a terrorist act and what is not. The topic of teenage alienation is presented in a nice way for the audience to understand. The story focuses on teenage culture, particularly western dance music. The film, through its production context presents the Hollywood cinema context. Of importance also is the fact that the ability of the movie to reach a global audience is conditioned by the North American perspective. The entire film was financed by United States companies. Most of the production was also done by the Hollywood, which is a United States’ film production company. This whole American input made it an obvious thing for the movie to focus on North American issues.


Shaw, D. (2011). Babel and the Global Hollywood Gaze. New York.