Friday, May 14, 2010

There's always a first time

Sophie watched her first movie today.

Yup, you read right. A movie. Her first. As in sat through the whole thing. And she was quite wonderful through it all. It was like she's been watching movies all her life. She was quiet (except for moments when she squealed back at the screen- more on that later...), well-behaved, and thoroughly engrossed in the film as if she knew what was going on. See for yourself...


To be fair, Sophie might have known what was going on actually. We were at a special screening of Babies, Thomas Balmès new documentary film about the first year in the lives of four babies from Namibia, Tokyo, Mongolia, and San Francisco. Jude and I have been waiting for the movie to open for months, and it finally opened in the Michigan Theater last week. Today's screening was specially for parents and their babies, with stroller parking along the aisles, special low lighting in the theater, and easy access to the changing area.

The film's a fascinating look into parenting and growing up across the world and we loved it. It's a documentary in the truest sense of the word- no dialogue, no script, no voice-over, no agenda. It's real life. Just stunning, evocative images of these amazing little human beings from their first breath to their first step. Watching them was almost like watching Sophie's last 9 months condensed but also re-projected through different lenses- learning communication, becoming aware of their surroundings, reciprocating parental affection, mastery of their physical environment, i.e. growing up. It was both amusing and affecting watching these babies growing up so differently; like a study in anthropology, you can see how varied infancy is for babies in the hyper-developed world (Tokyo and San Francisco) compared to more agrarian and tribal societies: some babies grow up crawling freely everywhere; other babies are tethered to their beds; for some babies, play is mimicking mom grinding sand on stone; for others, it's sitting around with other babies singing songs and dancing. But different doesn't mean better or worse, and that's what was so great about the film- it isn't about whether it's OK to bathe a baby in a metal tub from which a wandering goat comes by to drink or if pushing your baby around in the stroller all day is acceptable; the movie's about being a human being in the world.

And speaking about being a human being, the little human being who was with us was engaged in the movie way more than could be expected of a 9-month old. I mean, there were of course times when she would rather chew on the zipper of my raincoat or make eyes at our friend, Melissa, sitting behind us, but for a large part of the movie, I really think Sophie was actually watching the screen. There were even moments during which the babies in the movie squealed or cried and Sophie would respond by squawking back! Like she was communicating with them (she's been doing a lot of that with us lately...)

We highly recommend the movie to everyone, whether or not you're a parent. Here's the trailer, you'll see why:

1 comment:

A said...

I heard this was a great movie!

And...I didn't know Jude got a job at Yahoo! Congrats!!! :) So proud...

Oh, I knew you when.

And, I also didn't realize that you moved to San Francisco! Congrats!!!

So proud...

Oh, I knew the 2 of you when...