Filmed over a year, this French documentary follows the first 12 months in the lives of four babies from across the world: a village in the Namibian bush, a yurt on the Mongolian steppes, Tokyo, and San Fransisco. Shot with unobtrusive but quiet visual flair, the movie reveals key moments of childhood development – breast feeding, interacting with other kids, learning to walk – with little dialogue and no voiceover. Differences in child-rearing approaches emerge from the film's global perspective – the Namibian mum's method of using her knee to wipe her child's bum is unlikely to figure in many western books on good parenting – but the tenderness and love is a constant in all the families featured. The view of these young ones that emerge is perhaps a little too cloying – there are suspiciously few tantrums here – but, heck, there's no getting round it, babies are cute.
Friday March 4 2011