Gonzalez Inarritu, 43, is the first Mexican-born filmmaker to be nominated for a best director Oscar. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe and Directors Guild of America Award.
The film marks the third collaboration between director and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga -- the two have since had a falling out -- which began seven years ago with the Oscar-nominated Mexican drama "Amores Perros."
They followed that up three years later with their first English-language production, "21 Grams," for which Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro received Oscar nominations
Gonzalez Inarritu began his professional career as a disc jockey at the top-rated Mexican station in 1984. By the end of the decade, he was composing music for features and short films.
In the 1990s, he was put in charge of production of a TV company and by 27 was one of its youngest directors. He segued into forming his company for producing advertising, short films and TV. Gonzales Inarritu made his first short feature, "Detras del Dinero" in 1995.
Since you have a background in composing, is directing a film akin to conducting a piece of music?
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Completely. The first thing I did in film was the music for short films. I always conceive my films as symphonies. I always perceive myself as orchestrating chaos. My job is to get the best performance from the violin player and the best moments of the piano solo. . . . At the end you are orchestrating to get all of the people involved.
My job is just to choose the right musicians for the right parts and then try to get from them the best. All of us should be coordinated with the story and the themes I want to explore.
"Babel" is a very complex, thematically rich drama.
It's very challenging for audiences in a way that provokes not only on an emotional level, but at the same time on an intellectual level.
At the same time, the film deals with a lot of ideas, subject matters that are affecting all societies simultaneously around the world. The film visually and emotionally touches the nerves and touches the hearts and minds of people. It makes them think -- which is a good thing to happen.
What was it like to direct such a sprawling, globe-trotting feature?
This one challenged me more than ['Amores Perros,' '21 Grams'] because it is not only dealing with intimate stories and the isolation and the lost of these characters, but at the same time it has social commentary that deals with the fate of the world now.
The characters are not physically connected. They never see the faces of each other, but they are thematically and emotionally attached to each other. It was challenging, but when it works with audiences it is very rewarding.
When did you come up with concept come up with "Babel"?
When I was in pre-production on "21 Grams" I conceived this idea of this film on a global scale. I talked and shared this with Guillermo and he liked very much the idea. We thought it was [a way] to explore how an act can create ripples not only with another city or country but around the world.
Just as with your previous films, "Babel" uses a non-linear way to tell the four interwoven stories.
I think that in the end when you are dealing with different stories that are simultaneously happening on the screen, I always think the story finds the best way to be told. And I think by obvious reasons there are no other ways to tell it.
Rinko Kikuchi is nominated for supporting actress for the film. How did you find her?
One year before I start shooting, I traveled to all of these countries [where I would be shooting] .I found found her in one of the first sessions and she blew my mind. She was far the best one because she had an interior life that none of the others had.
One of the most moving scenes is when Brad Pitt breaks down while talking to his son on the phone.
I think that was one of the best moments in the film. I think he and the character merged. There are no cuts in the scene. I just put the camera on him and it just happened. We were shooting at the Casablanca hospital. It was like 6 a.m., and he just broke down. I got goose bumps.