Director Thomas Balmes gives movie-goers a light-hearted look at the ins and outs of child-rearing across the globe. From breastfeeding to bath time, diapering to discipline, viewers witness the logistics and wonder of the first year of life as it unfolds across four distinctly different landscapes and cultures.
Meet the Babies
The movie opens with a scene of Ponijao, of Namibia, sitting in the dirt and playing with rocks with his brother. In this barren desert, void of all the creature comforts we enjoy in the U.S., Ponijao, a curious baby boy with an easy smile, discovers joy in playing with his brother, drinking and spitting in a creek and babbling with his mother.
Mari, is born into the bright lights and hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Japan. While showing exceptional persistence with a threading toy, this diva-in-training throws an Oscar-worthy tantrum. The fashionable and adorable baby girl also "works" alongside her mom and dad in the family's home office, attends play dates and baby music classes and is scared of the Tiger at the local zoo.
Bayar, on the other hand, has an up close and personal view of animals as he watches his parents butcher a cow. While living in the desolate Mongolian tundra, Bayar finds himself in all sorts of predicaments, including sharing his bath water with a thirsty goat, dumping the dish water out on top of himself and watching a rooster join him in bed.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a point of discussion during one of Hattie's well-baby visits. The San Francisco native sleeps with her careful parents who live in an immaculate house and has a collection of books that would rival any children's library. The verbal girl has a panache for the word "no" and has some wild adventures on a push toy at the local park.
While so much is different in the material aspect of raising children, Ponijao, Mari, Bayar and Hattie illustrate the universal joys and struggles involved in the first year of life.
"Babies" opens Friday, May 7, and is showing at Landmark Theatres.
Landmark Plaza Frontenac
210 Plaza Frontenac
St. Louis MO 63131
Landmark Tivoli Theatre
St. Louis MO 63130