Saturday, January 06, 2007

Best Supporting Actress, Class of 2006: Rinko Kikuchi

It helps that, of this large ensemble cast, she is the focus of the storyline that could easily stand on its own.

It helps that she convincingly plays someone who is deaf, even though she is not.

It helps that she manages to convey a panoply of emotions --rage, lust, empathy, hunger -- on her face and body, even when she has no clothes on, or when strobe lights flash all around her.

It helps that she is not a star (indeed, that we have never even heard of her before), that she is indeed acting.

It helps that, even if for me she is not part of the key "image" that I take from the film (that would be her competitor, the fine actress Adriana Barraza, who walks alone through the desert with the torn red party dress trailing behind her) that her performance is strong, convincing and indelible throughout the film, to the point that her face alone will not free you.

For these reasons and more, I submit my candidate for Best Supporting Actress 2006: Rinko Kikuchi.

This entry is part of the Supporting Actress Blogathon -- please feel free to visit the other sites on the list, particularly since they have probably seen more films than I have, heh heh.


Emma said...

Yup, have heard great things about the performance, but damnit, haven't seen the movie yet.

J.J. said...

But she needs no help from us! She has a lock on a nomination! Foul!

And I think Barraza is worlds better anyway. Holler.

Middento said...

JJ: On the first part, this is where my inability to see many movies of late is hampering me. I would have rather chosen someone who needed more consideration -- but most of the female acting jobs I've loved have been leads. Phyllis Somerville is my next-up...

...and, concerning your second point, to be honest, I had planned to write about Barraza. (To which you should say, "Of course you were.") But, as I mention, Barraza acts up a storm, even as she starts slowly. But months after seeing the film, I found that I had a harder time defending Barraza and an easier time writing about Kikuchi. It's funny how writing makes you confront something like that.

Trust me, I'll be the first one to break open the piñata if Barraza gets a nom and Kikuchi does not. Still, my post stands.

StinkyLulu said...

I'm still non-plussed by Kikuchi, while Barraza's still resonating for me.

Which - to my mind - suggests an interesting thing about the film. I'm inclined to think that Babel's built upon pile of -- to a one -- exceptionally vivid portrayals of very loose character sketches. As a result, it seems like it sorta depends on which character/s you (as a spectator) met half-way, which ones connect with you.

I'm not a fan of the film. But much of the acting is extraordinary.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I was a much bigger fan of Kikuchi than Barraza to be honest. I don't know what Barraza's doing in Babel, but I didn't really see it as a great performance (all because of the script mind you. She's fine, but I'm not sure I understand the raves) because when she's not just sitting around saying mundane things in scenes have don't have a purpose except to make the runtime longer, she's just screaming for help.

Whereas I sort of connected to Kikuchi's character much more. I could read her character more. I admit that, yet again, there's not much there for her to work with, but I have a weakness for people who stare out into the abyss of the world. Strange, but true.

Having said that, I wouldn't nominate her for an Oscar.

ed said...



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