Birth: it's a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a business. Compelled to find answers after a disappointing birth experience with her ... See full summary »
Mary Helen Ayres,
Documents the 9 month journey from conception to birth with images taken inside the womb. New photographic and camera techniques allow the viewer to see previously unknown images concerning a time we all go through.
The Face of Birth - a film about pregnancy, childbirth, and the power of choice. This documentary follows the diverse, heart-warming, and sometimes heart wrenching stories of a handful of ... See full summary »
In 1999, King Jigme Wangchuck approved the use of television and Internet throughout the largely undeveloped nation of Bhutan, assuring the masses that rapid development was synonymous with... See full summary »
Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives captures a spirited group of women who taught themselves how to deliver babies on a 1970s hippie commune. Today as nearly one third of all ... See full summary »
Ina May Gaskin,
Discoveries in neuroscience can help us understand childhood development. When a person is born, it is more than just a genetic load. We are formed by our relationship with everything ... See full summary »
As the Internet finally arrives in tiny Bhutan, documentarian Thomas Balmès is there to witness its transformative impact on a young Buddhist monk whose initial trepidation gives way to profound engagement with the technology.
Nicholas has every reason to keep things in life unchanged; however, when he accidentally overhears mum and dad talking about a new baby brother, his world will turn upside down. Will they abandon him to make room for the little stranger?
Having recently celebrated the birth of Liliana, our first grandchild, I admit I am a little biased toward babies in general and the documentary Babies by Thomas Balmes in particular. The film, however, stands on its own as a joyous celebration of the first year of life for four youngsters in different parts of the world. Filmed without narration, subtitles, or any comprehensible dialogue, Babies is a direct encounter with four babies who stumble their predictable ways to participating in the awesome beauty of life.
Enhanced by the inspiring music by Bruno Coulais, we follow Mari, a little girl in Tokyo Japan; Ponijao, another girl living in Namibia in Africa with their mother and eight brothers and sisters; Bayer (Bayarjargal) a boy who lives in Mongolia; and Hattie, definitely the most privileged of the four who lives with her apparently super aware parents in San Francisco. Watching their development over the first twelve months of life is a direct experience of the enchantment that life has to offer. The babies laugh, they cry, they play, they get frustrated, they poop, and they bask in the loving tenderness of those around them.
Needless to say, their experience of the first year of life is vastly different, yet what stands out is not how much is different but how much is universal as each in their own way attempts to conquer their physical environment. Mari becomes frustrated as she sets about getting the hang of teaching toys by attempting to place a spindle into the hole of a disc. Bayer unravels a role of toilet paper and then takes bites out of it when it is all undone. Hattie crawls towards the door during a parental ecology meeting in San Francisco as if to say, "Get me out of here, I've had enough of this".
Though the language is different as well as the environment, the babies cry the same, laugh the same, and try to learn the frustrating, yet satisfying art of crawling, then walking in the same way. Of course, those in Tokyo and San Francisco have definite physical advantages over their young counterparts in Mongolia and Namibia. Hattie has the advantage of cultured and literate parents who read to her and show her books with the title "No Hitting." Bayer and Ponijao live close to earth, naturally sitting with goats or playing among cows, having their tongue licked by a dog, and even drinking water out of a dirty stream, yet we are confident that life for Bayer and Ponijao, though culturally different than for Hattie and Mari, will survive and prosper by the loving ways of their own parents and the environment in which they live. You will either find Babies entrancing or slow moving depending on your attitude towards babies because frankly that's all there is, yet for all it will be an immediate experience far removed from the world of cell phones and texting, exploring up close and personal the mystery of life as the individual personality of each child begins to emerge. For me, it was difficult to resist.
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