I just watched the movie Babies, which follows four babies from different parts of the world. Thomas Balmes is the director and Alain Chabat is a producer and had the original idea. The movie follows a babies from Africa, Mongolia, Japan, and the United States from birth till their first steps. I loved this movie! You just can’t beat a movie full of cute babies. My 7 and 10 year olds watched part of the movie. It wasn’t enough to hold their interest, but they did watch for probably at least an hour of it. We discussed a little bit about the differences in how the babies live, but also about how they are the same.
Babies does show all of the moms before their babies were born, while they were very pregnant, but it pretty well glosses over the births themselves, other than the juxtaposition of how they differ among the cultures. From the low key birth in Africa to the baby from the United States hooked up to all kinds of wires and tubes. My boys were interested in the comparison between the baby in Africa, crawling in the dirt and playing with rocks, to the baby in the United States, getting vacuumed around and having a lint removing roller rubbed over her clothes.
Babies is very unflinching in the portrayal of breast feeding, but my boys didn’t seem to phased by that. The African women do not wear tops of any kind, my boys didn’t ask about it, so we didn’t really discuss that women not wearing tops is just a cultural difference. We did talk about whether it was good or bad to let a chicken wander around in the house like the Mongolian baby had. My youngest son asked if it was bad to let the chicken wander around in the house. I told him that it can increase the risk of illness like the bird flu, but it is the way things are done in that culture, and it’s not really good or bad.
I watched the Blu Ray version of Babies, the scenery was gorgeous. There wasn't much in the way of special features, other than a small featurette that was an update on how the babies look 3 years after filming on the movie finished. The filmmaker goes back to visit each family and shows them each the finished movie.
I think for an introduction of kids to the difference among people, but still highlighting how people are basically the same, this movie is brilliant. I would highly recommend this movie as an interesting discussion into cultures, and as just an excuse to look at cute babies for a couple hours. My kids are both well into elementary school age, and I’m not sure whether this movie gave me a baby fix, or if it made me want to be around a real one more. I can’t really rate this movie with bookmarks, but, as I think I’ve mentioned, I would highly recommend Babies.