Mark Metcalf
Moving Pictures review


By - May 8th, 2010 04:00 am
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Babies is a surprising film, both in the technique it uses to communicate and in the emotional response that accumulates while watching it. It is only seventy-eight minutes long. There is not a word of dialogue or voice over narration in it. Every image is of an infant or baby, and if there is an adult in the frame he or she is there as an accessory to the child.

The film follows four children literally from birth to perhaps a year of age. One child is from a village in Namibia, one is from Tokyo, one from the steppes of Mongolia and another from San Francisco. You might say those are as different as environments and ecosystems can get. But the children are all the same — they do the same things. They all learn to accomplish chores like sitting, smiling, the making of sounds, crawling, even standing and walking, all at different times, but they grow together. The songs they hear from their mothers, the games they play with their neighbors, the food they eat, the feel of the wind in their faces, how they stand on the rock they all call home, on this earth, is unique to each but the babies are all one. They belong to the same family and they share the same world, a world that to them, of course, is remarkable.

And that is the emotional response that accumulates as you watch it, the world becomes remarkable again. And that is a fine gift, especially on Mother’s Day.

The triumph of the simple —of standing on two legs for the first time for instance — the story of the courage, the will, strength and determination to raise yourself to a standing position has seldom been so elegantly told as it is in this film.

Babies opens this weekend at the Oriental Theatre. For more information and showtimes, visit their website.

Categories: Movies

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