Babies: Coming Soon!

I dare you not to smile or even let out an awww while watching the trailer for the new movie Babies.  It will debut on Mothers Day.  Perfect!

It is being described as a visually stunning and joyful new film that simultaneously chronicles the lives of four of the world’s newest human inhabitants – in Mongolia, Namibia, San Francisco, and Tokyo, respectively — from first breath to first steps, on a journey at once universal and amazingly original.

Directed By:  Thomas Balmès from an original idea by producer Alain Chabat

“You must trust in reality. It is an unbeatable script. If you take enough time, things will happen.” Thomas Balmes

Balmes was able to shoot 80% of the movie himself despite working in disparate parts of the world. Film crews based in each country were able to fill in the rest.

Pregnant mothers were interviewed and selected for participation in the film before the gender of the unborn children was known — which is why there are three girls and just one boy.

Each situation presented its own challenges. With the Himba tribe in Namibia and in the remote grassy hills of Mongolia, the babies spent more time outdoors interacting with nature than those in urban areas. “In the wild, my presence there was much less disturbing,” Balmes says. “I had more freedom. It was much more difficult in San Francisco and Tokyo, shooting inside of apartments. It was more intrusive to the family.”

From Day 1, the babies had a high-definition, low-light camera in their faces, and they quickly grew accustomed to Balmes and his tripod. “We stopped filming once the babies grew older and more conscious of their surroundings,” he says. The only time the filmmaker thought about interrupting the action was when cows were moving dangerously close to Bayarjargal, the boy baby from Mongolia. But he had nothing to fear. “Somehow the cows were aware that this is not a big grown-up adult. “

Balmes found his own thoughts about child-rearing changing after his experience. Just like Americans, Europeans are less willing to trust a baby to amuse itself, he says. “I myself wake up every morning, sing a song, read books, take them to dance lessons and fill in every moment. But kids need time by themselves. I saw how babies with nothing to do developed the most aptitude.”  By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY

Meet Bayar

Born in Mongolia, Bayarjargal, usually called “Bayar” for short, lives with his mother, father, and older brother Delgerjargal (“Degi”). Bayar is two years younger than Degi, who is very curious about (and slightly jealous of) his newborn brother. This baby’s good nature and easygoing personality make for some very funny brotherly interactions! Bayar’s family lives on their small family farm, where Bayar wanders around on his own from a very young age, playing with animals and exploring his surroundings – but his parents are never very far away.

Meet Mari

Mari lives with her mother and father in Shibuya, a busy metropolitan area within Tokyo, at the center of all of the city’s noise and excitement. Mari is an only child and lives the contemporary urban lifestyle, walking around city streets when not in the family’s apartment that has a view of the city skyline. Mari loves to visit toy stores, play with the family’s pet cat, and go to baby play groups. In the movie, she is notable for her dramatic reactions to, and frustrations with, everyday life.

Meet Ponijao

Ponijao lives in Namibia with her family, including her parents and eight older brothers and sisters. Ponijao’s family is part of the Himba tribe, and lives in a small village with other families, following traditions including speaking their own (Himba) language. The men in the Himba tribe are generally off looking after the cattle and searching for grass, so Ponijao is most often with her mother and other female relatives; she plays, eats, and is bathed through the traditional method of mixing concrete red ochre with oil. Ponijao’s favorite things to do are dance and play with other children in the tribe.

Meet Hattie

An independent sort with a mind of her own, she lives in a cozy home with her ecologically aware vegetarian parents in San Francisco. “Her parents consider her opinion as important as an adult’s. They don’t judge her.” When Balmes returned with his camera in December to do an update on the babies, Hattie got to see herself on film. “At one point, she said, ‘This is enough.’ It was in the middle of the screening. We stopped it and waited until later to watch it again.”

Watching these pure innocent little beings is so delightful.  You just can’t help but smile.  I know when I’m holding our new grand daughter, Claire, in my arms I feel completely at peace… until she starts to cry and then I quickly give her back to her mom.  Grand parenting is awesome!


  • Chris

    Can’t wait to see it !! And I know my many “Mom-friends” will love it too !!
    Love the shot of the little guy being brought home in his Mom’s arms on the back of Dad’s motorcycle !! Ha, who needs car seats ?! 🙂

  • jacquie

    This’ll be really interesting to see in it’s entirety. Sometimes I feel like the world is becoming such a small place and then I see something like this and I’m reminded of all the diversity still out there and how beautiful people are in there own ways.
    We all want the same thing; love, family, security and a future. These babies represent all of that to me.

  • Tracy Westerholm

    Ponijao is my personal fav, babies are so precious! You’re so lucky to have one to hold right now, it’s going to be awhile before I am a Grandparent and I look forward to every moment of it when it does come my way. Being a Mother is a gift and being a Grandparent is that Gift given all over again!

    Can’t wait to see this movie to be reminded of the different cultures that make the world such a beautiful place to be! Holly and Brad your little darling is Beautiful!! T xo

  • Samantha Mattersdorfer

    I LOVE Mari! Oh what a cutie. I love children but will not have my own. I keep talking to my mom about adopting eventually if I can. I think this documentary will be very interesting.

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