Friday, May 28, 2010
BABIES / ***
Distributor: Focus Features
Release Date: May 7, 2010
Running Time: 79 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
Almost seven months ago, I was blessed with a niece, Parker Camryn Ziegler. She’s just about the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Don’t believe me? Check this out. A friend of mine also recently had a baby that is this cute.
Did anybody really need proof that Babies are cute? French Director Thomas Balmes has seemingly created definitive proof with his 79 minute documentary that proves over and over again, that yes, babies from anywhere in the world are indeed adorable.
Blames selected four newborns as his subjects: one from Bayarjargal from Mongolia, Ponijao from Namibia, Mari from Tokyo, and Hattie from San Francisco. While it would be easy to dismiss the film simply in terms of my above paragraph (essentially that babies are cute), what gives the film an interesting dynamic is watching the multitude of cultural differences between these four regions. Mari and Hattie certainly have more things, but Bayarjargal and Ponijao don’t appear to be less happy. Well, maybe Bayarjargal, but that’s because he keeps getting picked on by his older brother.
This is a truly observational documentary. There are no cutaways to the babies’ parents talking about what it’s like to be parents or anything like that. All 79 minutes are focused directly on the infants; the parents are seen in periphery only. The film gives the feeling of being in the room with the adorable little characters.
It also gives the movie the feeling that it ran long even at an hour and 19 minutes. One could literally walk in and out of it several times and not miss anything essential. That certainly gives the film charm, but it also keeps it from becoming a great documentary. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Balmes came back to these four later on in life?
“Babies” is an aptly titled film and one that is certainly fun to watch. After all, babies are cute.
Theater: The Ruth Sokolof Theater, Omaha, NE
Time: 930 pm
Date: May 20, 2010