The premium / standard edition DVD of "Babel" will be on sale from November 2, 2007.
On April 26 the Japan premiere of "Babel" was held in Tokyo. Director Inarritu, Rinko Kikuchi and Satoshi
Nikaido showed up wearing kimonos!
It is a great pity that Koji Yakusho did not come to the premiere venue because of the shooting of a new
Japanese film ("Pako and the Magical Picture Book"). Brad Pitt sent a message to the audience.
On May 2 I had a chance to see "Babel" in Tokyo at the Sukaraza movie theater. This movie is really a
masterpiece; I enjoyed every minute of it. I was completely entranced with the cinematography, storyline and
acting. I also became intrigued with the acting of Koji Yakusho in the role of Yasujiro Wataya.
The following is Pymmik's unofficial translation of an the interview with Koji Yakusho reported in the
"Babel" program given out at the movie theater.
At the 2006 Cannes Film Festival press conference, Koji Yakusho was asked whether or not he was rather
uneasy that, as the chief actor representing Japan, he appeared in only a few scenes in "Babel".
To this query Koji replied;
"However small a film role may be, it is a great accolade for an actor to be able to participate in a good
movie. I'm especially happy that this role as Yasujiro was directly offered to me by my favorite director,
Inarritu, who had directed "Amores Perros". I first heard the gist of the story from Inarritu and then read the
scenario, but no details were given to me on Yasujio's background; so, before the shooting, I had created
various stories on my own concerning what had happened after the shocking suicide of Yasujiro's wife and
about the sad relationship between Yasujiro and his daughter, Chieko."
Koji Yakusho also related to the interviewer an interesting episode about a minor alteration of the scenario
"The scenario itself was a superb one, but I requested the director to make a change in one of Yasujiro's
remarks. When Chieko got out of his car, in the original scenario, Yasujiro was supposed to say; "I love you
(Aishiteru-yo)." But I reflected that however deeply Japanese parents may love their children, they never say
'I love you' directly to their offspring. Moreover, to think of the relationship between Yasujiro and Chieko,
this remark is not very plausible. Just because they cannot convey their own feelings, Yasujiro and Chieko
cannot communicate properly. There may be fathers in Japan who can say 'I love you' , but that was not a
remark that I was able to say with any sense of reality, so I told the director my thoughts and got his
permission to say, instead, "Take Care! (Ki o tsukete-na)". This need for the change in the script dialogue is
probably due to the nuances of feeling that only Japanese feel, but nonetheless, Alejandro accepted my
request. I think that he is a superb director with flexibility as well as stubbornness in a good sense."
Here is another piece of English news that some viewers have become sick during the showing of "Babel".
Four days have passed since "Babel" opened on April 28 in Japan. I am glad to say that reportedly it has
become a great hit. However, the latest medea news about this film is rather stunning. After watching the
Tokyo disco scene where Chieko enters, at some movie theaters all over Japan, it is reported that some
viewers became sick, as a result of staring at the rapid nearly one-minute long flashing lights during that
scene. Therefore, some movies theater managements issued a warning to patrons not to stare at that section of
the movie too much; alternatively people should close their eyes for a minute at that point. Here's the
warning notice on the "Babel" Japanese official website. Here's English news item about i
If you click this site, you will be able to see the making of the scenes from Morocco, Japan and Mexico
segments respectively with director Inarritu's commentaries. Please click 'PLAY'.
An eight minute video-clip of the interviews with director Inarritu, Koji Yakusho, Rinko Kikuchi and Stoshi
Nikaido can now be seen here.
Please visit the Japanese "Babel" official site and click the Gallery section. You will be able to see some
impressive photos from the Morocco, Los Angeles, Mexico and Tokyo segments. There is a very good photo
of Satoshi Nikaido on the Tokyo part. The photo of Yussef is also superb.
Skip the introductory cue sound, and the Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Bibo no Aozora" will be heard.
On March 13 Koji Yakusho's official website reported that the magazines listed below (with dates given in
parentheses) would have feature pages on 'Babel.' As a matter of fact, Koji did mention on January 29 that he
had been quite busy with magazine interviews for his new movies, 'Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai' (I Just Did
Not Do It), 'Sakebi' (Scream or Retriution), 'Argentine Baba' (Argentine hag) and 'Babel'. I, therefore, expect
that we will be able to read more about 'Babel' and Koji's thoughts on this movie in these magazines viz:-
Switch (April 20)
Plus Act (April 2)縲�
TV Life (April 25)縲�
Screen (April 21) and the 'Babel' special edition of Screen (April 18)
Lee (April 7 )
Terebi Taro (March 24)縲�br>
Here is the video clip of the press conference, which was held on March 7 in Tokyo.
Koji Yakusho's speech was very straightforward and impressive.
I was surprised to learn this info through Twitch film net.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel" drew protests from an unexpected quarter in January when 500
hearing-impaired actors who took part in the film were invited to a preview screening in Tokyo but left feeling
disappointed and confused. The audience complained of the lack of subtitles on the Japanese scenes, making
the story difficult to follow. The story's Japanese section focuses on a distraught hearing-impaired teenager's
(Rinko Kikuchi) desperate need to communicate. Although numerous hearing-impaired actors appear in the
film, Kikuchi has normal hearing. A petition drive led by Ruruka Minami, a sign-language translator involved
in the casting, seeks to convince distributor Gaga Communications to offer subtitled prints for the film's April
28 release. The petition attracted 15,000 signatures as of the end of February. The distributor is considering
honoring the request but hasn't reached a decision as to how many prints would be subtitled.
On March 7 the press conference for "Babel" was held in Tokyo with the following persons present; director
Inarritu, Koji Yakusho, Rinko Kikuch and Satoshi Nikaido. Here's the photo.
This site has got more detailed comments and photos. The site reports that each person was asked to write one
word on the board to express the message of "Babel".
Here are the words. (Japanese in parentheses).
Director Inarritu; Compassion
Koji Yakusho; Human ties (Kizuna)
Rinko Kikchi; Forgiveness (Yurushi)
Satoshi Nikaido; Soul (Tamashii)
Recently on theYahoo Japan movie website, I found the photo-gallery page for "Babel". I was pleased with
three of the photos of Koji Yakusho here in the role of Yasujiro, especially the last one ! It is quite
unfortunate, however, that on photo-gallery sites overseas, we can see only a single picture of him. Now it
may be said that Koji appears at only a few scenes of this movie; but there are nonetheless a huge number of
fans of him in Japan and undoubtedly many Japanese people are likely to be inclined to go to see "Babel"
even when Koji has only a small role. Indeed, in the mind of many Japanese filmgoers, Koji's appearing in a
movie is, in itself, to be regarded as a guarantee of good quality. It is quite interesting to see that the overseas
Babel poster does not include any photo of Koji Yakusho, whereas the Japanese poster does include a photo
There is actually another photo of Koji, though, comprising the only the upper part of the picture from the
scene, where Yasujiro holds his daughter gently and affectionately on the balcony of their Tokyo
condominium. This shot was taken from a page of "the Babel Photo Book" published by Taschen in 2006.
The picture from this angle does not appear in the movie, but I myself was deeply impressed with this picture,
feeling that in his eyes we could vividly see Yasujiro's suffering. Here is the photo.
Koji Yakusho did not attend the Oscar ceremony which was held on February 25 in Hollywood. Instead he
attended the three greeting -the audience- sessions for his new starring movie, "Sakebi (Scream) /Retribution"
directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa on February 24 in Japan.
I was able to see Koji Yakusho greeting the audience immediately after this movie was over at a theater called
Kawasaki TOHO cinemas in Kanagawa prefecture, around 17:30. Here is the photo, taken at Cine Sezon
Shibuya Theater in Shibuya, Tokyo on the afternoon of Feb. 24. I was enthralled by Koji's peformance in
this horror movie and enjoyed Koji's speech to the theater audience after the showing. If you want to see the
full trailer of this movie, click here (Twitch film. net)
The Japanese official website of "Babel" reports that "Babel" will start showing on April 28 (Sat.) nationwide
The BAFTA awards were announced! The best film was "The Queen". As for "Babel",
Mr. Gustavo Santaolalla was awarded THE ANTHONY ASQUITH AWARD for Achievement in Film Music.
At the moment I am most interested in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award, which will be
announced on February 11, since Babel is nominated in various categories of this Award. Incidentally, I have
recently learned through Koji Yakusho's official site that the cinematography in Babel by Rodorigo Prieto is
regarded as superb.
On his official website, (renewed on Jan.29), Koji Yakusho recollected his first meeting with director Inarritu:
(Pymmik's unofficial translation)
"While I was staying in Los Angeles for the filming of 'Memoirs of Geisha /SAYURI' (2004), I received a word
that director Inarritu wanted to meet me, so we met at a bar in a hotel in Santa Monica.
At that time he explained to me the rough synopsis of his new film. Its screenplay had not yet been completed
then, but to understand the charm of that film, his explanation was more than enough. He said, "Your role is
that of a father who has a deaf-mute daughter. He only appears only at the first and last scenes of the film,
but he must be a person who makes his presence felt.
Since I liked one of his films, 'Amores Perros', and was very impressed by his enthusiasm toward this new
film, as well as his personality and his outlook (not to mention his hairstyle, which gave people the impression
that he must have just got up), I told him at once that I would like to appear in his film.
This new film, Babel, will be at last released in Japan during 'Golden Week' (May). This is a film with the
underlying theme that in this seemingly hopeless world where one person cannot understand another, we can
still find a small ray of hope.
It is a great pleasure to me that the film, the staff, (especially Rodrigo who is an excellent photographer) and
the main cast ( including Ms Kikuchi in the Japan part) are all highly regarded."
(I have posted the same translation on my " News Update site".)
Through the official Japanese website about Babel, Koji Yakusho and Rinko Kikuchi gave the following
Koji Yakusho :
"I've just heard that Babel had seven Oscar nominations in six categories such as for the best drama, the best
director, and the best supporting actresses, Kikuchi san and Adriana san. Babel is certainly a film worthy of
Oscars; I pray that those nominations will win as many as possible. "
Rinko Kikuchi :
"I feel very honored. I am very happy that I have heard this wonderful news in Paris. I feel that this has
become a very good present to my parents. I look forward to seeing everyone related to the film again. I am
I felt very moved to learn of the comments by director Inarritu and actress Adriana Barraza when they heard
that Babel had been nominated for Oscars. (News source: Reuters)
"Inarritu, 43, a former radio DJ, took a year to film "Babel," a sweeping four-strand story that takes place in
Japan, Mexico, the United States and Morocco.
"I feel very honored to be the first Mexican director to be nominated in the history of the Academy. It means
we are breaking borders," Inarritu told Reuters.
Adriana Barraza and Japan's Rinko Kikuchi won their first Oscar nominations for their supporting actress
roles as a Mexican nanny and a deaf mute schoolgirl in "Babel."
"It is my first everything in America. I am honored, nervous and very excited," Barraza said."
According to the IMDb, in addition to the Golden Globe award, "Babel" got 'another 10 wins & 55
Among all those awards or nominations, I was especially happy at "the Best Ensemble Cast" award among
the Gotham Awards, for the cast includes as the major actors and actresses, Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett ,Gael
Garcia Bernal, Koji Yakusho, Adriana Barraza , Rinko Kikuchi, Said Tarchani and Boubker Ait El Caid.
Certainly, it is nice to find the name of Koji Yakusho in this list; but I was also delighted to find there the
names of the two Morroccan boys, Said Tarchani and Boubker Ait El Caid, who together played the
I became a fan of Boubker, who played the part of Yussef, the younger brother, after I read director Inarritu's
comment about him in the Babel Photobook. About Boubker, director Inarritu wrote:
"One day in Tamnougalt's main square, Alfonso Gomez called me to have a look at a very special boy. He
was Boubker. I explained to him that I was going to be giving him a test by saying some phrases to him and
for him to answer me not with words but to tell me with his eyes what he was feeling. "Your mother died," I
said. His eyes filled with tears, and all of us were stunned by his expression. It was a unique moment. I knew
that I found an actor for the part of yussef. Afterwards, I found out that his mother had died seven years
before and that his father was a man whom he rarely saw. Without realizing it, I had touched a very deep
wound in the boy. There is nothing more powerful than reality and that cannot be faked." (p.90)
Here is the photo of Koji Yakusho and Boubker, taken during the photo call at the 2006 Cannes
Film Festival. It is quite moving to see Koji, as the father who gave a Moroccan village man his own rifle
putting his hands gently round the shoulders of the Moroccan boy who later happened to use the same rifle.
I have to hasten to add that as far as I can see on the You Tube site, the note that Chieko has given the
detective, Kenji, is not shown clearly on the screen. What we can see is only that it is a school pupil's note
page, filled with small letters.
About the ending scene of Babel:
The ending scene of Babel seems to be controversial by means of the fact that when Yasujiro finds his teenage
daughter Chieko standing naked and leaning over the balcony rail of their skyscraper condominium at night,
he approaches his daughter quietly and gives her a big, gentle hug. I hear some people say, though, that this
embrace suggests an incestuous relationship between father and daughter.
I haven't seen the film yet (as it won't to released in Japan until late April), but I have seen the last five
minutes of the ending scene through a You- Tube site. Here it is.
I was utterly moved by Koji Yakusho's performance there. His facial expressions and the tone of his voice all
show that he is extremely tired, tense and concerned about his daughter. His happy smile, while holding his
daughter affectionately in his arms, seems to convey that he is filled with joy; for he finally feels assured that
his daughter relies upon him.
Babel tickets started selling in Japan from January 1, 2007. Today I got a ticket for Babel at one of the movie
theaters in Tokyo. I was also given a flyer of Babel, together with a jigsaw puzzle (108 pieces) based on
Brueghel's famed picture of "the Tower of Babel" (1563).
January 2, 2007
On Monday, January 22, the first screening of this film in Japan will be held at Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills
Theater in Tokyo to celebrate the 7 nominations of this film for the 64th Golden Grobe Awards.
I have just finished typing director Inarritu's well-written comment on Rinko Kikuch, which appeared in the
photobook, Babel. It explains very well how hard she worked to get the role.
"The people of Japan, like the characters in their pictures, are what they do and not what they say. No father
will ever say "I love you" to his daughter. In Japan, as in good acting, feeling should be implicit in the
action, not the words. For me, the words are the less important element of a scene. A well-written or well-
directed scene should be understood in silence, without words, with the action delineating the character.
Therein lies the greatness of the silent movies, pure cinema.
縲�The words are only little boats that float in the great river of emotions. A year before starting to film, I
began casting in Japan, where I met Rinko Kikuchi. She introduced herself silently. We did a first reading
and I was astonished. I almost took her for a deaf-mute. I couldn窶冲 take my eyes off of her. When I knew
that she was not one, I hesitated. I was obsessed with finding a deaf-mute actress for the role of Chieko. I saw
her again the next day. Her presence, her spirit, her intensity were perfect, but she was not a deaf-mute. I
returned to Los Angeles with echoes of Rinko playing tag in my head, but unable to decide.
縲�uring the following nine months, while we were filming in Morocco and Mexico the Japanese casting
director continued the search for Chieko. Rinko, on her own initiative, without notifying anybody and
without the part being definitely hers, decided to take classes in sign language at her own expense. When I
returned to Japan it was impossible for me to tell the difference between Rinko and a real deaf-mute. I had
never before seen such determination, discipline, and need to play a part. Barely a few weeks before shooting,
I told her the part was hers. Her emotion and tears were endless, profound, and silent. It has turned out to be
my best decision since I started to make movies. Rinko窶派er presence like incense, subtle but penetrating 窶
�had incredible sensitivity and a deep inner life that made Chieko into kinetic character." (p.208)
I found the official Japanese website of "Babel". The Japanese version poster put the photo of Koji Yakusho
on the Tokyo night view scene. The trailer has more scenes on the Tokyo segment!
The following comment by director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu on the photobook, Babel (published by
Taschen) impressed me very much. This comment gives us a clue to how the Japanese story in Babel started.
"Just a single image gave me the idea for what was to be later transformed into Japanese tale of Babel, an
image that still echoes today with many emotions. I was walking in Hakone, a place half an hour away from
Tokyo made up of bodies of sulphurous water, withered trees, constant fog, black crows like flying dogs; the
ground covered with the discarded black shells of the eggs boiled by people in the waters. An atmosphere
worthy of a Kurosawa film.
When I started down the mountain, I heard frightful guttural sounds. A retarded girl appeared through fog
walking slowly, helped by an elderly man. All the people going down, especially the children, were somewhat
fearfully avoiding her. The old man, on the contrary, was helping her along with great tenderness, love, and
dignity. I was moved by the image. On that trip and some months later, while traveling in Stockholm with my
family, I saw quite a number of deaf-mutes. I was struck by their way of gesticulating and dramatic nature of
their communication. It seemed to me unknown language ignored by practically all of us who are blessed with
the power of touching and being touching and being touched by the word. 窶弋he language of silence", I was
thinking. The same night I had an erotic dream about an adolescent in a dentist's office. All these images,
apparently unrelated, had afforded me a justification for filming and exploring a possible story of different
types of insufficiency -- absence and loneliness -- in one of my favorite cities for its mystery and
contradictions. After two intense years of collaboration, Guillermo wrote a powerful and poignant story,
which like an elegant perfume just brush the other three, leaving a delicate scent upon them." (p. 202)
Here some more interesting extracts from the comments by director Inarritu during the filming in Tokyo:
窶彜ince Amores perros, I have celebrated the beginning and ending days of a filming with a kind of ritual
blessing, I like blessings because, as the origin in the Latin benedicere (to speak well) indicates, it means to say
something good about something or somebody. I believe staunchly in the power and energy of words, which
sometimes are nothing but what fills the heart. I use red roses on the first day and white roses on the last. On
Sunday, November 6, 2005, at 5:30 a.m. in front of Tsukiji, the biggest fish market in the worlds, some 80
Japanamerimexicans formed a circle holding hands, prayed, observed a minute of silence, and decapitated red
roses. Upon the cry of Abba Eli, we tossed their petals of blood into the pale blue sky over the city of kimonos
and ideograms. It was a cold, tranquil, and romantic autumn morning, ideal for initiating the fourth and final
part of Babel窶ｦ.窶�(p.207)
On page 206, we see a photo of Koji Yakusho, director Inarritu and Rinko Kikuchi observing one minute
silence, holding hands with a crimson rose in their left hands.
The cinema cafe.net has recently announced that the "Babel" release date in Japan will be in early May, 2007.
I am most interested to see if the Japanese poster of this film contains the photo of Koji Yakusho or not.
Today I received the large format photobook of "Babel" published by Taschen from Amazon. On page 239 of
the book, I found director Inarritu's very impressive comment on Koji Yakusho:
"Chieko's story is not about pathological sex but about the need for affection. When words are not
alternative, and one can't touch or be touched by them, the body is transformed into only tool of expression.
To be able to suggest and support Chieko's complex past with a couple of scenes, I needed a similarly complex
but profoundly human and emphathetic presence. In a world in which acting styles seem to run towards
shrieks of exaggeration, it was a pleasure to find myself with an actor whose spirit, reliability, and elegance are
indicative of an economy of movement that very few in the world succeed in mastering. Koji Yakusho's
disciplined and human warmth lent dignity to Chieko's story. The actor's micromovements, from lifting an
eyelid to holding up a hand, make all the difference. In the same way, Satoshi Nikaido, who acts the part of
Kenji, has a spiritual nobility necessary for him to do what he did to Chieko: dignify one considered
On the last page of this book, I found the photo of the final scene where the father (whom Koji plays)
embraces his daughter, Chieko, (played by Rinko Kikuchi) in the twilight on the balcony of a skyscraper
building in Tokyo. I felt utterly moved to see Koji's sad but dignified look and his way of holding her; for in
his look, I sensed his various emotions, such as affection, gentleness, concern, and pain all at the same time.
Koji's eye expressions are always effective and unforgettable.
The original soundtrack CD of "Babel" will be on sale from November 21.
The photo book of "Babel" is now available.
Here is the talk with director Inarritu and Gael Garcia Bernal at the London Film Festival.
Rinko Kikuchi joined the festival.
The Babel official website was renewed. Some scenes of the Japan story with Koji Yakusho and Rinko Kikuchi
can be seen.
I found another good photo of Koji Yakusho at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Twitch film site has posted the Q & A session with director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu at the time of Babel
screening during the Mill Valley Film Festival (October 5 - 15).
The ofiicial site of "Babel" has been renewed!
Some video clips at the Toronto International Film Festival. You can have some glimpse of Brad Pitt, Koji
Yakusho, his wife Saeko (in Kimono), Rinko Kikuchi, Gael Garcia Bernal and directer Inarritu on the red
carpet and at the time of the premiere for Babel.
This video clip is particularly interesting.
"Babel" is due to be shown on November 2 at the 50th London Film Festival as a closing night gala event.
Sandra Hebron's following comment on this film is quite impressive:
"Inarritu and regular screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga brilliantly interweave these parallel stories, exploring
characters and relationships in depth, whilst cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto gives each of the strands its own
distinctive look and feel. The ensemble cast, well known and less so, give expressive, naturalistic performances,
which add to the film's sense of immediacy and authenticity.
Combining intimate stories with epic scale, Babel is a bold, confident and gloriously cinematic assertion that
assumptions and prejudices are more divisive than language barriers or borders. "
A report on the showing of "Babel" at the Tronto International Film Festival.
Here are some pictures of Brad Pitt, Koji Yakusho, Rinko Kikuchi, and director Inarittu.
Koji Yakusho's official site reported today that Koji would be able to attend the showing of "Babel" at the
Toronto International Film Festival on September 9.
Here's the "Babal" page and the trailer (Quick Time) for the Festival.
I just found that at the Toronto International Film Festival, "Babel" is scheduled to be shown at Roy
Thomson Hall from 9:30 p.m. on September 9 (Sat) .
The official site of "Babel" and the trailer.
I have just found a nice photo of Koji Yakusho and Cate Blanchett at Cannes.
Here is also an interesting director Inarittu's comment on Koji Yakusho:
"Says Inarritu: 'That father appears in just a couple of scenes, but we had to find an actor who has so much
presence and gravity that you remember him long after his scenes have passed.' "
Here is a photo of directer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Koji Yakusho taken while filming in Tokyo in
2005. Another photo of Koji on this Japanese blog site may surprise you. This photo was taken a few years
Alejandra Gonzales Inarritu won the Best Director award in the Cannes Film Festival!
On May 27, it was announced that "Babel" won ecumenical jury award at Cannes.
For Koji Yakusho, this is his second ecumenical jury award at Cannes. Koji's Eureka by Shinji Aoyama won
the same prize in 2000.
The video clip of some May 23 events is now showing on the Cannes website. The press conference site of
"Babel" does not work at the moment but on this highlight site, you can see various aspects of the events such
as the press conference, the photo call, "the step on the red carpet", together with some clips of the Babel
The interview with Koji Yakusho in Cannes. The photo is breathtaking! (The photo will be enlarged.)
Pymmik's translation will be coming soon.
Reportedly Koji left Cannes for Japan on May 24th without waiting for the result of the judging on May 27.
He had left Japan while in the middle of shooting Masayuki Suo's new film, "Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai".
This is a thrilling piece of news!
Cannes: "Babel" Photocall
In another newspaper interview, Rinko Kikuchi says that director Inarritu's original idea was to cast a real
deaf girl, so she had worked very hard to learn sign language for more than a year, trying to look and act like
a real deaf person.
Ten images of "Babel". One of them is of Koji Yakusho!
Here is the Babel page of the Cannes Film Festival website.
Koji Yakusho's role name is Yasujiro and Rinko Kikuchi's Chieko.
Three more new production stills. I'd like to see some stills of the Japan segment of "Babel" as soon as
The name of the actress who plays the role of Koji Yakusho's daughter in the Japan segment of "Babel" was
announced today. She is Rinko Kikuchi (25). She is going to Cannes in time for the showing of "Babel" on
May 23. Sports Nippon newspaper reports that it took the staff nearly one year until they found her through
Two new production stills!
Following "Unagi/The Eel " (1997) by Shohei Imamura, "Eureka" (2000) by Shinji Aoyama, and "Akaihashi
no Shitano Nuruimizu/Warm Water under a Red Bridge" (2001) also by Shohei Imamura , "Babel" by
Inarritu has become Koji Yakusho's fourth film to be entered for the competition at the Cannes Film
Festival. Koji (who learnt of the good news through an e-mail from director Inarritu), commented, "Even at
the screenplay stage, I felt that 'Babel' would become one of the eternal masterpieces of the cinema. Starting
from its showing at Cannes, 'Babel' will be sure to impress lots of people throughout the world."
Incidentally, Koji himself will be visiting Cannes for the showing of "Babel" which is currently scheduled for
Tuesday May 23.
Source: Sankei Sports Newspaper, April 21, 2006
"Babel" was selected as one of the 19 competition movies for the 59th Cannes Film Festival (May 17 - 28).
According to the Ropeofsilicon site, the "Babel" release date seems to be October 6, 2006.
(Now it seems to be released from November 17, 2006)
In his official website, renewed on December 26 last year, Koji Yakusho referred to director Inarritu and his
film,"Babel" as follows: (Pymmik's unofficial translation)
"While I was staying in Los Angeles for the filming of 窶廴emoirs of Geisha /SAYURI, I received a word that
director Inarritu wanted to meet me, so we met at a bar in a hotel in Santa Monica. Incidentally I had been
very impressed by his earlier movie, Amores Perros. At that time, mentioning that he had been writing a
screenplay, entitled, "Babel", he told me the story of this planned movie very enthusiastically. It seems that I
was then led to think that I really wanted to appear in this movie. At all events, the very next day, Mr.
inarritu requested me to appear in this movie. Of course I accepted his offer with pleasure.
Seeing that the filming of窶廝abel finished over a month ago, Mr. Inarritu must be now in some dark editing
room. Sometimes the filming session took us all night, but how I enjoyed those filming sessions! It is a film
funded by American investors, but I felt as if I were making a Japanese movie. As a matter of fact, it was a
good chance for me to experience the two different types of movie filming, "SAYURI" and " Babel" 窶ｦ"
January 4, 2006
I found a data page about "Babel", which has the following plot summary:
'Armed with a Winchester rifle, two Morrocan boys set out to look after their family's herd of goats. In the
silent echoes of the desert, they decide to test the rifle... but the bullet goes farther than they thought it would.
In an instant, the lives of four separate groups of strangers on three different continents collide. Caught up in
the rising tide of an accident that escalates beyond anyone's control are a vacationing American couple (Brad
Pitt, Cate Blanchett), a rebellious deaf Japanese teenager and her father, and a Mexican nanny who, without
permission, takes two American children across the border. None of these strangers will ever meet; in spite of
the sudden, unlikely connection between them, they will all remain isolated due to their own inability to
communicate meaningfully with anyone around them.
From Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu comes a film that is at once intimate and epic, shot in four countries, cast
with actors and non-actors, and concludes his trilogy that started with "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams." '
On November 25, one of the Japanese daily newspapers,"Sports Nippon" had an article about 'Babel' and
Koji Yakusho. Here is Pymmik's unofficial translation:
The filming of the Hollywood movie, Babel (directed by A.. G. Inarritu), in which Koji Yakusho (49) appears,
has now reached the most interesting part. This is a humanistic drama where episodes set in four countries,
(Japan, morocco, Mexico and the US) are closely connected. Yakusho performs the lead role in the Japanese
episode of this film. 窶廣fter cutting, there should remain lots of good scenes. this is surely a film to which we
can look forward ", Koji Yakusho says with confidence.
This being Yakusho's second Hollywood film after 窶彜AYURI窶�( which is to be released from December 10
in Japan), his existence as a lead actor is predominant during the filming sessions.
窶錬abel窶�is a film where the link between the four episodes, which happen respectively in Tokyo and Los
Angeles, as well as certain places in Morocco and Mexico is a rifle. While fulfilling a role as a key person in
the whole story, Yakusho portrays a father who is concerned about his teenage deaf daughter owing to a lack
of communication with her.
In today窶冱 scene, Yakusho watches a volleyball match in which his daughter participates. Using three
cameras, and changing angles and distance, director Inarritsu repeats filming many times, after holding
meetings with the staff each time. While watching the shooting of this scene, Yakusho comments, 窶廬 feel
the shooting goes on by director窶冱 intuition. The distance between the staff and the performers is very
close, and one seems to be given the impression that this is a place for creation. After cutting there should
remain good scenes.
Brad Pitt and Kate Branchett appear in the Morocco episode, but Yakusho does not have scenes together with
them. Apart from the Japan episode, all the other episodes have finished shooting. Yakusho says, 窶廬 am
not concerned about the other episodes. Each episode has its own characteristics and has the power to attract
audiences. I am looking forward to seeing how those episodes will be connected.
Becoming entranced by Yakusho窶冱 former films such as 窶弋ampopo窶� Director Inarritu wrote the
scenario, imagining Koji Yakusho. He says, 窶廩e is not only a greatly talented actor but his personality,too,
is superb. Yakusho says, 窶廡rom now on, the number of overseas films with Japanese dialogue might
increase, but I would rather that Japanese films should go overseas.
Filming the Japan segment of 窶錬abel窶� starring Koji Yakusho, seems to have started in Tokyo in
October, but no official news has come out through any of the media so far.. The only info I have is that a
couple of scenes for 窶錬abel窶�are probably to be shot just outside Tokyo in Ishioka city in Ibaraki
prefecture on November 7 and 8. A local newspaper website reports that lots of extra people are going to be
needed for this film during these two days.
No news on filming the Japan segment of "Babel" yet. Koji Yakusho certainly finished the filming of his new
film, entitled "The Uchoten Hotel", directed by Koki Mitani, in August.
As for the plot, we are only informed that the Japan segment starts when a Japanese (Koji Yakusho) and his
daughter happen to watch the news on TV and learn that an American couple, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett,
have got involved in terrorist attacks in Morocco.
When Gaga Communications announced the 2006-2007 new line- up on July 27, Koji Yakusho fans were
surprised and excited to be informed that Koji would appear in a Hollywood movie, entitled, "Babel",
directed by A. G. Inarritu, together with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Here is the URL of one of the
newspaper articles (in Japanese) issued on July 28. (You can see the latest photo of Koji here.)
According to the press release, when director Inarritu visited Japan last April to promote his film, "21
Grams", he started looking for a suitable Japanese actor to perform one of the lead roles for his new film,
entitled, "Babel" ; and in due course he was introduced to Koji Yakusho.
Koji, who was selected to perform this role following an audition, got together again with Inarritu in Los
Angeles last December, while involved in the filming of "Memoirs of a Geisha". Koji fans were so pleased to
learn that after considering Koji's past films, his personality and his views on filmimg, Inarittu had decided on
Koji for this role.
I was surprised to find that Inarritu had written and directed, the segment, "Mexico" of "September 11" in
2002. It is not known to many people but Koji actually appeared in the segment, "Japan" of "September
11", directed by Shohei Imamura ("The Eel" and "Warm Water under a Red Bridge"), performing a very
minor role dressed as a HOUSE- WIFE to serve tea at a villagers' meeting.
Created on July 28, 2005
Updated on August 4, 2007
Click the picture for enlargement.
If you want to know the whole story of
Babel, click here.
Koji Yakusho as Yasujiro Wataya
Click the picture for enlargement.
|Release date in Japan: April 28, 07
|Interview with director Inarittu,
Koji Yakusho, Rinko Kikuch and Satoshi Nikaido