With wit, tenderness and a keen eye for the fledgling signs of intelligence and sociability, this beautifully shot documentary follows the first year in the lives of four infants from different parts of the world.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2010
With wit, tenderness and a keen eye for the fledgling signs of intelligence and sociability, director Thomas Balmès documents the first year in the lives of four infants from different parts of the world. From birth to first steps (though passing quickly through the first few messy months) we watch as they begin to explore their very different worlds in very similar ways. Without commentary or translation, Balmès takes us close into each baby’s world in beautifully composed images fixed firmly on their tiny forms and adorable, questing faces. — BG
“A nearly perfectly paced window into an infant’s evolution… Our stars are Ponijao from Namibia, Mari in Tokyo, Hattie from San Francisco and Bayar, the only boy in the bunch, from Mongolia. We meet them at birth or soon after with Hattie’s short hospital stay, her body wired to countless high-tech machines, a reminder of how fragile life can be. Sturdy too, as Bayar is strapped up papoose style just hours after birth for the motorcycle trip back to the pasture where the family’s cattle graze…
It’s a testament to the fundamental adorableness of infants that all were ‘cast’ before they were born and are universally photogenic. Even so, stars will always emerge and Ponijao and Bayar, whose lives are virtually untouched by modern conveniences or modern parenting, prove to be major scene-stealers… The director has said one of the main characteristics he wanted in the families he would follow was that the child would be loved. That is perhaps the most significant truth of the film: children surrounded by love are likely to thrive and are delightful to observe.” — Betsy Shankey, LA Times