It's not often that a documentary with no narration, subtitles or dialogue steals the hearts of millions of moviegoers. But put four adorable infants on the big screen and you might just have a shot. The new documentary film Babies tracks the entire first year in the lives of four babies around the world, from birth to first steps.
Director Thomas Balmes spent nearly two years traveling the globe to capture the early lives of Bayarjargal from Mongolia, Ponijao from Namibia, Mari from Japan and Hattie from the United States. The idea, he says, came to him five years ago from a French producer. "[He said], 'Why don't we do a wildlife documentary on babies?' Well, I said, 'What is this crazy idea?' And then the more I was thinking about it, the more I thought there could be something done about it."
Thomas says one of the best things about the film is that the cooing of babies is a universal language. "The other day, I had a 15-year-old Chinese woman come up to me [and say], 'This is the very first time I'm going to bring my grandmother, who doesn't speak a word of English, to the movie theater,'" he says. "Anyone can watch it because there is not a single dialogue, not a single narration. You are, for 80 minutes, only with the babies and their perspective. You see the world through their eyes, and you almost have no adult in the scene."