A kind of nature documentary that looks at the human species the way another documentary might look at apes: a human-nature documentary, if you like. The French filmmaker Thomas Balmès follows four newborns from far-flung corners of the globe — a Namibian, a Mongolian, a Japanese, an American — from birth to rubber-legged ambulation. There is no commentary (nor are there subtitles for foreign tongues), so that we’re left to draw our own conclusions. Inasmuch, however, as the evidence is highly anecdotal and arbitrary, any conclusions are probably better left undrawn. And the procession of Kodak Moments adds up to little more than a glossy coffee-table movie or glorified home video: a rooster hops up on the bed with the Mongolian, and a goat sneaks a sip from baby’s bath water; the Namibian notices analytically that her older brother has a peepee where she has none; the petulant Japanese girl’s tiny tantrums in a roomful of toys are intercut with the Mongolian happily playing with a roll of toilet paper (conclusions?). Each of the newborns also has a cat in the house, adding to the entertainment value, excepting the Namibian, who has less entertaining dogs. At well under an hour and a half, the film won’t wear out its welcome. (2010) — Duncan Shepherd
This movie is not currently in theaters.