When F. was first born, my midwife recommended the film.”Bébés”. As my hormones were going crazy at the time, I was worried I’d be too emotional watching it so I left it for a bit.
So I watched it yesterday – and absolutely loved it. The film follows four babies through their first 18 months, from birth to the first steps and words. What’s special is that the four are growing up under extremely different circumstances: one in rural Namibia, one in Tokyo, one in San Francisco and one in a nomadic family in Mongolia.
The film has no narration and I didn’t understand anything apart from what the American mum was saying to her baby. This allowed me to see the scenes entirely through my own eyes, without the film makers telling me what to think (apart from through the way the film is cut and the music).
What I took away was this: all babies learned the same things eventually, whether they were constantly attended or left to themselves, whether they were specifically animated by singing and books or just allowed to play as they wished with siblings or animals. The Namibian childhood seemed the most natural to me.The little girl was always by her mother’s side and given great freedom in discovering the world around her.
What a lovely film with a subtle yet strong message. The extras included interviews with the parents after they’d seen the finished film. This gave the story another interesting layer. I highly recommend it!