About the "Babies" Documentary

This 2010 documentary will make you think

Babies Documentary Film Poster
Babies documentary. Focus Films

Have you ever wondered what it's like to raise a baby in a different part of the world? The 2010 documentary "Babies" is just that. It documents the lives of four babies from very different parts of the world during the first year of their lives, from crying to crawling, to their first steps.

"Babies" offers a look into the lives of four babies from around the world: Ponijao from Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal from Bayanchandmani, Mongolia; Mari from Tokyo; and Hattie from San Francisco, Calif.

The film begins by documenting their births and continues to follow them throughout their first year, and depicts just how different, yet similar, these babies' lives are.

About the Film:

Ponijao was born in a rural hut with an earthen floor. Hattie was born in a state of the art maternity ward in the middle of a bustling metropolis. Despite the babies' varying circumstances and geographic locations, they all seem to be happy and healthy.

The film offers an interesting look at the differences between growing up in a first-world, developed nation versus a poverty-stricken one. On one hand, Mari and Hattie, who grow up in Tokyo and San Francisco, respectively, are predisposed to contemporary Western parenting techniques that seek to equip children with as many advantages as possible, i.e. baby yoga and meditation. On the other hand, Bayarjargal and Ponijao, who are from Mongolia and Namibia, respectively, come from very different backgrounds.

Bayarjargal lives in a yurt and Ponijao lives in a hut with a dirt floor.

Is "Babies" the kind of film you need to rush to see? Probably not. But it's a really great film, largely, in part, because it focuses on the babies, keeping it pure and simple. In most cases, the parents are hardly visible. The film also documents the not-so-fun sides of little ones, like when Mari throws a tantrum and starts screaming.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this film is that there isn't a line of narration. It's just pure, uninterrupted babies. It's a universal film anyone could understand that accurately depicts the difference between cultures, but leaves the viewer to take what they want from the film. 

About the Making of the Film:

"Babies" is directed by Thomas Balmès, who specializes in documentary films and has been lauded for his ability to direct documentaries with poignant detail. Some of Balmès' other includes such films as "The Gospel According to the Papuans," "Waiting for Jesus," "A Decent Factory" and "Damages."

In an interview on the "Babies" official website, Balmès said the families are ready to film a sequel in a few years. A sequel, which could depict the children's lives in school, may be in the works, although nothing has been confirmed.

Purchase "Babies" on Amazon

Watch the trailer

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