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Chieko Wataya

Babel

In 2006, Babel was released, and one of the stories within the film was about Chieko Wataya, a Japanese teenager with profound hearing loss. She’s a rebellious teenager who witnessed her mother’s suicide and is visibly troubled. Rinko Kikuchi, the actress who portrayed Wataya, studied sign language for a year for the part. She was also nominated for an Oscar for the role, the first nomination for a Japanese actress in 49 years. A large theme of the movie is the concept of characters communicating without spoken words, so it’s interesting to see how the other characters communicate with a character who already inherently communicated differently.

Chieko Wataya - Babel

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