5.19.2010

BABIES


They're tiny, they're irresistibly cute and they now star in a documentary film. Babies has been receiving great reviews so I decided to see it yesterday. The documentary follows four infants from birth and captures their first words, first steps and everything else leading up to their first birthdays. The neat thing about this documentary is that the four babies are all located in different parts of the world, thus making it fascinating to witness each one grow and be cared for in completely different cultures.

The stars of the film include baby Ponijao who enjoys a carefree lifestyle with other children and stray animals within her Himba tribe in Namibia. The chubby-cheeked Bayarjargal has no fear crawling among a herd of cattle and munching on a roll of toilet paper in his nomadic home in Mongolia. Opposed to these rural upbringings, two other babies are filmed in urban cities. Mari in Tokyo and Hattie, the All-American baby in San Francisco, were both featured being over protected and pampered. There are similarities in the way people care for their little ones, however there are many more differences that become apparent during the film. While Ponijao is allowed to stick her mini arm right into the mouth of a stray dog, Hattie's hippie parents furiously roll lint off her jammies. And while Mari's mom takes her to Japanese baby classes, a wild animal comes to drink out of the bin Bayarjargal is bathing in.

Director Thomas Balm├Ęs does an amazing job capturing the footage of the little tots by using a tripod rather than a shaky hand-held camera. This is no homemade video, although I should warn potential viewers that the film has no dialogue. Also be prepared that if you're looking for a car-chasing type flick or something with a thrilling plot line, this film is rated adorable and deals only with the four babies mentioned.

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