Friday, April 2, 2010

Focus Features delivers 'Babies' for Mother's Day

Talk about bringing back memories. A couple of weeks ago, Ian and I caught a screening of the upcoming Focus Features documentary "Babies," and I must have teared up at least four times remembering so many of the moments that filled up CC's first year of life.

In fact, here was my tweet shortly after:

The movie, from French director Thomas Balmes and producer Alain Chabat, follows the first year -- from birth to walking -- of four different babies in four different parts of the world. It arrives in theaters Mother's Day weekend.

Baby Ponijao, who's part of the Himba tribe, trails her mother over their dusty Namibian village. Mari lives with her mom and dad in Shibuya, part of metropolitan Tokyo. Little Bayarjargal ("Bayar") lives on a small farm on the open plains of Mongolia, with his father, mother and mischievous older brother Delgerjargal ("Degi"), not to mention the roaming roosters and cows. And California girl Hattie hangs with her eco-friendly parents in San Francisco.

"Babies" is quite a touching film, as viewers can see the similarities of nascent human life on four different sides of the planet. Of course, traditions and routines -- not to mention languages -- are completely different from family to family, but each child's curiosity, determination and life stages are startlingly similar.

All kinds of firsts are showcased in this film. We see first breaths, first bites and first steps -- a triumphant moment for them all.

Baby Bayar from Mongolia taking his first steps in Focus Features' "Babies." Photo courtesy of Focus Features.

The differences were obvious -- a nearly nude lifestyle for the Namibian family to urban hipster chic for the Japanese trio -- but it was also funny to see an older sibling give his baby brother grief. Guess that happens wherever you go.

I probably fretted most for Bayar, as he not only had to contend with his tormenting sibling, but he also had to fend off various and sundry animals around the house. At one point, as a rooster darted around his little immobile baby body, I cringed, fearing the worst. The same went for the moment when his head got dangerously close to a cow's hoof.

They make 'em strong in Mongolia. After he was born, his mother held him while riding on the back of his dad's motorcycle on their way home from the hospital. That kid is a trooper.

But, more than anything, it made me think about my own child -- how she's been raised up until now and how she will continue to grow despite my futile attempts to keep her as my little bear.

It's funny. She's already 3 years old, and it feels as if I had her only five minutes ago.


Cheryl said...

Oh my goodness, that is so adorable! I was mesmerized the whole time watching the trailer. The little tribe baby was so cute learning to carry stuff on her head. Loved it!

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