Friday, October 15, 2010

Babies (2010)

I think the tagline says it all: "Everybody loves babies."
That's really the litmus test of this documentary: how much do you love babies. Even though it has a 78 minute run-time, the film has very little spoken dialogue; it's all about the babies. Therefore, you don't get to find out much about the parents, or the locations in which the film's four babies (Ponijao from Namibia, Mari from Japan, Bayar from Mongolia, and Hattie from the United States). You just get to watch these babies through the first year of their lives. It's a bold move for director Thomas Balmes, hoping that the tiny tots will be able to hold your attention on their own merits for more than an hour.
Does he succeed? For me, for the most part. The babies are incredibly adorable, and watching them grow and develop from tiny infants to taking their first steps is inspiring to watch. And as a whole, the film functions as all the joys of parenting without the responsibilities and insomnia. But the film does drag in places, and one wishes the film had a little more to say other than "babies are cute no matter where they're from." It's a raw representation of the old "cinema of attractions" from the early days of cinema: no writing, no acting, just turn on the camera and let it capture something. Babies is a cute film, but it won't leave a lasting impression.


Alex said...

I hated seeing trailers for this movie, because guess what? "Everyone" doesn't love babies! I personally don't love babies.

I agree that it's a very bold move for the filmmaker to just set a camera on some children and let things happen, though.

Jason H. said...

It's true: there was a certain audience for this film, and I only half-filled it. Babies are cute for a while, but not to the point where they can carry a (comparatively) short movie.