Babies – Thomas Balmès


Four newborns from four different cultures struggling to toddlerhood is a promising theme. There is a lot to digest after watching these human cubs discovering themselves and the world in Mongolia, Japan, Namibia and U.S.A.

The beginning of their lives is very much similar. Then, gradually, the environment is changing for each of them according to the culture they’re born into. Their cuteness is irresistible, their adventures are amazing and funny.

The stories start out as the stories of four individuals with randomly different characters. We find our favorite, we point out the dull and the annoying one but by the end of the documentary we are not thinking about the difference between the individuals but the difference between the worlds they belong to.

It is interesting how subjectivity and critical contemplation gradually settles in. The two things that lead our thoughts are camera angles and editing. We might think that we come to the conclusions by ourselves, but that’s not true. Besides the fact that we already have information on the theme we are under invisible guidance.

Camera angles and montage are the tools that assist the scenario in most of the cinematographic works; few are the ones who can use them to tell a story and even fewer to make a point. But this is relevant for fiction movies. What are the rules when it comes to documentary, do they suppose to be objective and can they really be?

The choices the director makes are crucial. Footage material is huge; the children, in this case, were filmed during a long period. The choices in the editing room are defining and I am sure Thomas Balmès could have cut the material with any other result that would have led me to any other conclusion.

But within the boundaries the director sets I come to the conclusion that there is paradise on earth, that children everywhere are happy at least for one year or two, that they are funny, that animals are perfect toys for infants and I think that is a conclusion I come to freely. Oh, I know it’s just illusionary freedom but I enjoyed it.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Silvia on June 3, 2011 at 14:46

    copilul mongolez e preferatul meu!

    Reply

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