Babies (Bebes) (79mins, PG)This documentary follows the lives of four babies from birth to about 18month of age from San Fransisco, Namibia, Tokyo, and Mongolia.
What can be better than spending 80mins eating popcorn and watching adorable babies? Not much.
For someone who loves to study cross-cultural development, I would have been content just watching the babies from Namibia and Mongolia (since their culture is so different from my own). I wanted more from those two babies. But watching all four showed the universality of child development and how each culture tries to impact that development. I loved that the babies in Namibia played with all natural materials (e.g. rocks, dirt, animals, mom's hair) and the American baby is always surrounded with manufactured 'baby' toys.
There has been some---not exactly controversy---but hesitation from Americans about this film, especially for young children. I can see exactly why (there is some footage of breasts and breastfeeding, naked babies including penises, and peeing and pooping). There is nothing in this film that has not happened at my house so I would allow my children to see this film (I did not bring the boys today since I wanted to relax and enjoy some girl time but I plan to watch it with them as well). The theater had at least a dozen young children and none of them really commented on any of the nudity (and some were right behind me). Additionally, one of the baby's movement is restricted in a way that is not common to Americans (but I ask you if it is any different than American's cribs, pack-n-plays, bouncy seats, etc). I think it is a great conversation catalyst for your kids.
I don't think it is our place to judge how other cultures raise their children but use this a way to learn more about it. You can also reflect on your own parenting choices.
I would recommend Babies to any who likes babies. Do you really need to see it on the big screen, not really but supporting the local economy is always great (the Art is the only theater in Central Illinois showing this film at this time).