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