Have you ever wondered what the first year of infancy looks like 10,000 miles away? French director Thomas Blames answers just that in his 2009 documentary simply titled "Babies". Blames takes his audience into the lives of four new born babies; Mari (in Japan), Hattie (in the United States), Ponijao (in Africa) and Bayarjgal (in Mongolia) as his cameras follow them through the first 12 months of life. From the secluded hills of a Mongolian farm to the fast paced word of Tokyo, the audience sees that although family and surroundings maybe extremely different in the lives of these babies, the babies and the children around them are very similar in actions.
From a cultural stand point the film does an incredible job of showing the babies in their natural environment, the crew are mere observers and never interfere with any situation. This is obvious as the older brother of Bayarjal hits the baby every time he passes by the camera and makes him cry, or when Ponijao sits in the dirt and dust with flies crawling on her.
In Tokyo the family spends most of its time with family and friends, and the emphasis is on educating Mari at a very young age. The family from San Fransico seems to be trying to impose a culture on Hattie that is not natural to the United States. In Mongolia, Bayarjgal spends a great amount of time unattended as his family works in the fields. Ponijao spends her days surrounded by women and pretending to work beside them. Yet despite all of these differences each baby reaches milestone at about the same time in their lives.