We are proud to add the upcoming film, Babies to our list of Truly Moving Picture Award Winners. Opening Mother’s Day weekend, this non-fiction film, follows the lives of four babies from various parts of the world through their first year of life. Check out the trailer below to get a better idea before reading the rest of the post.
The beginning of the film shows the four mothers right before birth, immediately showcasing the differing methods to this shared miracle. In Opuwo, Namibia we watch Ponijao’s mother spread a red mix of sand and animal fat over her belly in preparation for her birth. Next, we are in the hospital room with Hattie in San Fransisco examining the abundance of wires and tubes connected to her tiny body to monitor each vital element. Right away, we realize this will be a learning experience for everyone and as the film develops we are surprised to find it actually becomes much more.
Unlike any other film on our list of Truly Moving Picture Award Winners, Babies carries no dialogue. We are invited to examine the worlds of these children in a very beautiful way – observation. Although we hear the parents speak to the children, there are no subtitles and even when we are listening to the voice of the mother in San Fransisco, we barely hear what she says. The entire perception of the film comes from observation. We are not forced into thinking a certain way. We simply watch how these children grow and develop throughout their first year of life bringing to light many different feelings and reactions.
In Bayanchandmani, Mongolia we witness baby Bayer nearly get trampled by a cow. Although many of jury members’ immediate reactions were fear, we soon realize that this is how this child, as well as many others in the world, live day-to-day. The same reaction comes when we watch little Ponija share kisses with a dog and pick up a bone off the ground and put it in his mouth. Next, we witness Hattie’s father use a lent roller to clean her outfit. These simple observations not only remind us of our differences but also suggest that sometimes there may not be a right way to raise a child for each of these cultures has survived for many, many years.
Although the film brilliantly displays these obvious differences, it also somehow correlates many things at the same time. The children experience the same levels of curiosity and discovery of the world around them, their bodies, their limitations. Around the same time, they begin to crawl – one learns by chasing a toy and the other chasing a dirty, empty jar that was previously used to store the insides of a goat. All the while, the children grow and learn with the same determination. It’s a beautiful representation that although we are all so different, we are in many ways very much alike.
This message alone defines the reason this film was given the Truly Moving Picture Award. The film takes us on a journey through life and shows that despite our differences in race, skin color, background, parenting approaches, clothing, language (the list goes on..) we are all human beings and we all have that in common. It’s a beautiful reminder of our existence, how we actually relate to others, making the world seem much smaller. It’s very possible that you will gain a stronger appreciation and familiarity with other cultures being involved with such important moments in these children’s lives. What’s truly amazing is that we gain all this from a simple, slow and truthful observation.
In addition to the powerful messages in this film, the cinematography is exceptionally beautiful especially for a “documentary-like” film.
See it for yourself! Babies opens nationwide on Mother’s Day weekend, May 7th. Support this incredible film and celebrate Mother’s Day!