Starring: Bayar, Hattie, Mari, Ponijao
Directed by: Thomas Balmes (“A Descent Factory”)
Think of the new observational documentary “Babies” as the anti-“Supernanny” TV series. It’s easy to dismiss the idea of having kids when all they do is whine and throw tantrums, but in “Babies” more people will probably walk out of the theater imagining how life affirming it actually could be to raise a little one.
Following the pregnancy, birth, and first year of four babies from various parts of the world, filmmaker Thomas Balmes captures footage of everything from playtime to bath time to naptime and reveals how parental love is universal despite cultural differences.
Taking center stage is Hattie from San Francisco, California, Bayar from Mongolia, Mari from Tokyo, and Ponijao from the flatlands of Namibia. Through dialogue-free scenes, we watch these babies in their natural habitat like we would watch wildlife on the Discovery Channel. Throughout the film, director Balmes is clearly trying to stay out of the picture although it’s evident the babies sometimes know there is something going on when they stare into the camera.
While “Babies” may not be groundbreaking thematically, the beautiful cinematography and some adorable scenes make the documentary a visual feast filled with crawling, cooing, and plenty of drooling.