The droolists

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Lau­rel Glad­den

Ba­bies, mul­ti­cul­tural baby­li­cious doc­u­men­tary, rated PG, Re­gal DeVargas, 2.5 chiles

Are ba­bies an in­trin­si­cally — and uni­ver­sally — in­ter­est­ing sub­ject? As though it’s in­con­tro­vert­ible, the tag line for this movie de­clares, “Ev­ery­body loves ba­bies.” While I know plenty of baby-crazy peo­ple, I ob­ject to that as­ser­tion. I re­sent the sug­ges­tion that any­one who doesn’t fall head over heels for in­fants — or a movie about them — is a cur­mud­geon or mis­an­thrope. I like chil­dren. But is the fact that a movie has as its sub­ject adorable, pho­to­genic ba­bies a suf­fi­cient rea­son for me to see it — and like it?

Based on an idea from pro­ducer Alain Cha­bat and di­rected by award-win­ning French filmmaker Thomas Balmès, Ba­bies cen­ters on four chil­dren in four dis­parate parts of the world: Ba­yar, who lives on his fam­ily’s farm in Mon­go­lia; Mari, from Tokyo’s Shibuya ward; Poni­jao, who lives with her par­ents and eight sib­lings in a small Namib­ian vil­lage; and Hat­tie, born to en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious par­ents in San Fran­cisco. Balmès doc­u­ments roughly the first 12 to 18 months of the in­fants’ lives, cap­tur­ing crit­i­cal mo­ments of their devel­op­ment and so­cial­iza­tion. He es­chews nar­ra­tion of any sort, and the pre­cious lit­tle

Bot­toms up: Poni­jao and one of her sib­lings

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