This move is a simple French documentary by Thomas Baimes who took a basic idea to follow 4 babies for the first year of their life in 4 different continents and crafted an entertaining and revealing movie that is riveting from start to finish. That Baimes chose to have no "voice over" narration to push a particular belief only resulted in opening up the movie's interpretation to the audience.  The only sound was the natural sound of the child's environment and of the mother interacting with the baby.
Every viewer falls in love with a "favourite" baby and by the end of the movie I was wishing to see these babies when they are another year older.  "Babies 2" ??

The largest impact that the movie had on me was the distinct impression that babies from the West - Japan and USA are so much like "battery babies" with their every waking moment seemingly organised. They seemed to be constantly taken off to classes/groups for their senses to be stimulated or confronted with "educational" and safe toys.  The babies from Namibia and Mongolia on the other hand were allowed to be stimulated by their environment and explore their world largely unfettered, although in the case of the Mongolian baby, sometimes tethered to the bed post not unlike the animals surrounding their home.

Perhaps the most ridiculous moment in the film was the scene of the American Baby with his Dad at the mothers group which used meditation and chanting in the style of native cultures to affirm their oneness with the earth.  Cut to the Mongolian baby who was interacting with the goat or investigating chickens.
This movie is at once entertainng, cute and very thought provoking as it lays bare many of the cultural beliefs surrounding child rearing.

My Score: 8/10

Ma's View:

Yes this is a really delightful movie which shows that the mother-child relationship world-wide is very similar and that babies make the same progress in their first year whatever culture they belong to.  In fact, the Mongolian and Namibian babies appear to be happier, better adjusted and more resilient than their cosseted, over-stimulated western counter-parts.

The concept of following the development of 4 babies is a simple one but the editing of the film which emphasises the vast difference in the environments/cultures of these babies makes a very telling comment on the way "civilisation" is shaping our little ones.

No voice over and no sub-titles allows the viewer to interpret the human behaviour for themselves - this makes for very thought-provoking cinema.  Unless, that is, you want all the answers served up to you on a platter - which some reviewers seemed to need!

My score:  8/10

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