Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Babel, the final installment in what some called his “trilogy of death” (the first two being Amores perros and 21 Grams), opened on 10.27.06. A morose if brilliantly woven tapestry piece about random fates, Babel earned $34,302,837 domestic and $135,330,182 worldwide. It collected seven Oscar nominations (including Best Picture and Best Director — for a while it looked like a winner) and won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Drama.

And over the last 11 years, the twitterverse has been reflexively shitting on it. Too grim, “misery porn,” schematically forced, etc. I was a devout Babel worshipper during the ’06 and early ’07 award season, but the negative aftermath has been so persistent over the last 11 years that my admiration has weakened or even lapsed. Against my own critical judgment and history, I’ve come to associate Babel with vibes and feelings that I’d rather not revisit.

What a blessing and a refreshment, then, to watch Fandor’s “Found in Translation, Part 1: Babel & the Global Hollywood Gaze,” the first of a three-part series. What a breath of fresh air to reconsider Babel without the residual Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic poison to contend with.

The title is the title, although the three-part essay is actually about the south-of-the-border rennaissance that began with the emergence of Inarritu, Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro in the late ’90s.