Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Babies (Rhoades)

“Babies” Crawls Into Your Heart
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

I was sitting a few seats over from the deputy film editor from The New York Times as I watched a special screening of “Babies,” a paean to newborns around the world. But it wasn’t Ann Kolson’s reaction I was watching. Another viewer had brought along her barely walking granddaughter and I kept cutting my eyes back and forth between the movie and the tot playing in the aisle next to me. I don’t know about The New York Times, but the tiny youngster seemed to like it just fine, giggling and staring at the images of babies that filled the screen.

“Babies” – or “Bébé(s)” as it’s titled in French – is playing patty cake at the Tropic Cinema.

This Focus Films-Canal Studio-Chez Wam collaboration takes us around the world, following the birth of four babies – in Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo, and San Francisco.

We meet Ponijao, Bayar, Mari, and Hattie at the moment of birth and observe them during the first year of their lives.

Told without a single word of dialogue, this visual presentation is indeed a film editor’s triumph (Reynald Bertrand and Craig McKay get the joint credit here). And Thomas Balmes directs.

Scene by scene we follow those first moments as the babies laugh, cry, nurse, and greet the world. It goes to prove no matter how different we are, we’re all the same. Giving truth to that sentiment we celebrate here in Key West: One Human Family.

We observe these babies crawling through the African sand. Across the grassy Mongolian plains. Or scooting along a polished hardwood floor in San Francisco. Until they stand and take those first teetering steps.

And then they are babies no more.
[from Solares Hill]

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