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Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 21-09-2010


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Experience joy and happiness at its purest in this life-affirming universal celebration of the magic and innocence of Babies. Proving that if you surround your baby with love it doesn?t matter what culture you?re from or what child-rearing practices you follow. Babies travels the globe following four children from vastly different corners of the world?Ponijao from Namibia Bayarjargal from Mongolia Mari from Tokyo and Hattie from San Francisco. Sure to put a smile on… More >>


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Comments (5)

BABIES is a feel good movie that arguably has absolutely no point, or is very profound. It is a documentary that essentially films the first year or so in the lives of 4 babies from vastly different parts of the globe. We simply observe them eating, evacuating, smiling, discovering their toes, learning to crawl, learning to play, and so on. Certainly babies are cute, and it’s easy to get an adult audience to smile with and laugh at these silly little creatures.

That could be the point of BABIES…”look, how cute.” And frankly, it’s pretty satisfying on that level alone. But it could also be showing us, and the most basic levels, how we’re all so VERY similar, at least when we start out. That all of us, whether from Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo or San Francisco…we all have so very much in common. That’s a simple, almost clichéd “lesson”, but BABIES presents it in a clear and undeniable manner.

I very much appreciated the underlying points to ponder of BABIES…but mostly it was just a 79 minute delight. It’s a wonderful cultural lesson: short after birth, we see the Namibian baby essentially spending his time completely nude and the little Mongolian child swaddled tightly in many layers. Both are valid child-rearing approaches…but are starkly different and both are moving. Seeing the Mongolian child wrapped like a cocoon is a startling image…yet given his stark and cold surrounding environment…it is a way for his family to show their love and caring for this child when they are unable to physically be there holding the baby.

The Mongolian child was my favorite (although I liked all the kids)…and I suspect each person will have their own favorite. For American viewers, the San Francisco baby may either strike a strong chord, or may seem to be the least interesting. The Mongolian child was interesting because he was so darn cute, but also because he had a deep relationship with the animals that were such a part of his family’s farm: roosters, cows, goats, cats, etc. You can see how this tiny child will grow up to care for and understand the animals in his charge, because being around them is as natural as breathing. I found all those scenes to be rather touching.

Do be sure to enjoy contrasting the American child-raising to the styles around the world. One of my favorite moments: we see a toddler aged Namibian baby enjoying sitting outside his hut with his extended family, enjoying tribal music in the very area of the world it originated in. It feels integrated and RIGHT. Then we cut to the American girl, who is with her father participating in a group with lots of other kids and parents, sitting in a circle in a classroom, singing “African” songs and clapping their hands in a “tribal” rhythm. The American baby leaps up and runs screaming to the door of the room, trying to get out. The audience I saw this with just busted out laughing…we all saw the irony of an African child enjoying African music and an American child balking at enjoying “fake” African music. Draw your own political conclusions.

If you’ve seen the trailer for this film and enjoyed it…then you WILL enjoy the movie. It’s just more of that. Simple and sometimes moving. And while there’s lots of baby nudity and topless women in Africa…the movie is suited for the whole family, in my opinion.

(PS: It’s a French movie, but that makes no difference. There is no “dialogue” or narration…nor is it needed. Sure, you understand what the American parents are saying…but believe me, when you hear the Mongolian boy say “papa” for the first time…you don’t need a translator.)

Rating: 4 / 5

I am probably not the best person to review Thomas Balmes’ 2010 documentary following the lives of four babies during their first year. The film is only 79 minutes, but it feels awfully long to this childless reviewer especially since it carries the randomness of a string of related YouTube videos. However, I am not a complete curmudgeon since there are several moments of delight to be found in Balmes’ extended-shot approach which rarely goes above the eye-line of an infant. The director goes to four distinct places to highlight cultural dissimilarities and the universality of babies’ experiences in responding to the world around them – pastoral Mongolia, heavily urban Tokyo, the Namibian desert, and kid-friendly San Francisco. There is no voiceover narration, just the gurgling noises, crying jags and first words from the babies in a fashion closer to a wildlife documentary.

As for the babies who could technically be up for leading-category Oscars, there is Mari of Tokyo, who appears to show both a contemplative curiosity about the family cat and an artist’s temperament in her epic fit when she falls to the floor and pounds her legs on the playroom floor. Hattie of San Francisco takes to her jumpy chair and her playground race car like Evel Kneival and actually has the film’s funniest scene when she tries to escape her parents as they perform an unbearably pretentious Native American earth chant. Bayarjargal of Mongolia displays the most perseverance as he confronts the mayhem caused by a bullying older brother, thirsty goat, and an aggressive rooster. However, it’s Ponijao of Namibia who steals the movie as the model of stoicism as he replicates his mother’s domestic actions with just pebbles, dirt and the occasional piece of food. In fact, you might be amazed like me at how self-sufficient all these adorable babies are.
Rating: 3 / 5

A short time ago, my wife and I were joined by a new baby and our remarkable little boy is now at 19 months. The baby was a first for both of us and neither of us had almost any prior experience with an infant. Everything that unfolded was new and a very interesting experience. When my wife spotted the new “Babies” movie, we just had to see it. We both enjoyed it very much and will be buying the DVD when it becomes available.

The movie is a very unusual documentary of four babies in four different parts of the world (San Francisco, Tokyo, Mongolia and Namibia) and four different cultures. There is no story. There are no spoken words, only background sounds. The movie goes from scene to scene, back and forth, back and forth from baby to baby and location to location. We watched with fascination as each baby learned to adapt and cope with it’s new life as it unfolded in it’s particular environment. Very interesting to watch. We cringed at some of the baby experiences and laughed at others. Of course, we had our own living example for comparison and it has promoted a wealth of conversation.

If you have a newborn/toddler, be sure to see this movie. You’ll enjoy it immensely. Actually,babies are so interesting and humorous that almost anyone could enjoy the film. It’s a very unusual movie to view. The photography in the various settings is excellent. The sound is good. Relax and enjoy.

Gary Peterson
Rating: 5 / 5

The concept is deceptively simple: follow four babies from four different countries from birth til they take their first steps ~ 1 year old. As others have noted, there is no (spoken) narrative. Rather, the camera documents the four babies in the same situations : being born, first smile, at play, sleeping, etc. I watched this movie with my daughters and we all absolutely loved it (I was glad that they did not actually show the birth process). We all had our favorite babies – my daughters loved “Hattie” from San Francisco but I fell in love with the baby from Mongolia as he was so adorably mischievous. This multi-cultural perspective on babies is utterly fascinating. You will find yourself asking such questions as “Which baby seems the happiest?” (asked by my 9 year-old daughter); “What do babies REALLY need to thrive?” – toys, shelves FULL of books, or just a loving mom and a roll of toilet paper? There is a particular scene where Hattie bites her mom and instead of reprimanding her (like the Mongolian mother did when the baby was naughty), she pulls out a book entitled ~”No Biting”. It’s also interesting as an American parent, to see how “sterile” our babies are compared to the babies that grow up in countries like Mongolia and Namibia. Most importantly,as a parent, it makes you appreciate the “magic” of raising a child. A must see for all parents, and lovers of children, including children themselves. It is also a very entertaining movie. My girls laughed out loud and had me rewind it (rented and recorded it on Cable) in several places. Be forewarned: it may increase your urge to have a baby-I luckily slapped sense back to myself.
Rating: 5 / 5

‘Baby Face you’ve got the cutest little baby face

There’s not another who can take your place

Baby face’

Harry Edelheit lyricist

Hattie, Mari, Bayarjargal and Ponijao, are the stars of this film. Cute little

babies, all. They are from the four corners of the earth, Hattie from San

Francisco; Mari from Japan; Bayarjargal from Mongolia and Ponijao from Africa.

We follow them from their birth to over a year old. We see them as they are born

and how they adapt to the world.

Babies are the cutest form of humans. Who can resist them? We watch as they bond

with their mommas and poppas. Ponijao lives in a hut in Africa, but spends most

of her time outside with two adult females and other sundry children. It is

difficult to know if the children are her family or not. She drinks from the

breast when she is hungry, and someone is near to watch out for her. The one

instance that was upsetting was that her mom cut her little hair with a long

sharp knife, but mom looked diligent and knew her business. Ponijao did not have

the playthings that the other children had but seemed to progress at the same

speed. Bayarjargal was my favorite. He lived in a sort of hut in Mongolia, but

it had a dish that supplied electricity and computer service. He was very self

sufficient- had a sibling who sometimes played with him but often hit him. As an

infant, he was swaddled and it was tied at the waist and around the legs. When

he was larger he had a cord tied around his waist,and tied to a post to assure

his safety. His environment included animals, at one point he had a rooster on

his bed. He seemed very comfortable with cows and sheep running around him. He

had a distinct personality and usually had a smile. He lived in the country, but

his family seemed to have conveniences, and he had many toys. Both babies in

Africa and Mongolia did not wear diapers but urinated and defecated where they

were, seems very simple really. Mari in Japan was a cute little girl. She had

everything that a baby needed and seemed to progress very well. Hattie from San

Francisco was a cute little blonde- also had the advantages of a baby born in a

wealthy country. Lots of books and toys. She also progressed in the same time

period as the other children. Do all of our toys and gadgets give our children

any advantages? Doesn’t appear so. Babies need families and love, guidance and

security. These babies were fortunate to have these.

As a grandmother of three it was so much fun for me to follow these babies.

Parents and grandparents the world over love their babies and nurture them. This

film had no voice, just the babies. Enough. I would have liked to know about the

parents, but we came to know their children, that was the purpose.

Recommended. prisrob 09-03-10

Rating: 4 / 5

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