A Reflection Paper On The Documentary Film Babies

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The film tells the story of four different babies born and raised in 4 different places. There are babies from Namibia, Japan, Mongolia, and the United States of America. The story begins with the birth of babies and ends up with their first step scene. Each country has different lifestyle so that babies grow up in different cultures compared to one another. I will analyze it using DIE model.

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Ponijia, Namibia

She grows up in a tribal social group and often surrounded by people/mothers and other children/ in the dusty village of Namibia. During the movie, I rarely hear Ponijia’s cry even often fall asleep on her mother’s back while she was moving and working. She is always with someone even it’s just her young sister and brother. It is interesting that there is always human contact. First few months her mom always holding her on hand and next few months she strapped to her mother’s back. She grows up in an environment with everybody. As an evaluation, in the tribe culture, there is not a separation of child, adult, elders, and teenagers. Everybody works together as a community so that baby interacts with other babies as same age easily. But in this culture, raising a baby is seeming like only women responsibility because there was not seen that baby with her father comparison to Hattie, Bayarjargal, and Mary. Actually, I shocked about Ponijia born in a mud hut without doctor and any pieces of equipment to help her mother or for her. In addition, the scene that moms applying red paste on their babies’ skin, children drinking muddy water from ground, eating off the ground, how Ponijia’s mother cleaning her baby’s poop, fed up their babies outside seems like dirty and unhealthy, but there is no other better choice than those actions especially in that environment.

Mari, Japan

Mari born in Tokyo which is a developed country. Mary’s parents are always working but the responsibility of raising a baby seems quite equal. Her father takes care of the baby, bath together, and look after her even he was doing work on the computer. In my opinion, Japanese culture tends to closely pay attention to their child highly. For example, there was a scene that celebrates Mary’s birthday widely. She was discouraged and get easily angry when she failed while playing with her wooden toys. Maybe it was because she thinks that things must be like this or her parents’ lifestyle affects Mari’s psychological development. As an evaluation, it is not good for child’s temper so I think parents should not expect too much from their children.

Hattie, United States of America

Her father takes him and goes to a parent-child group to sing a chant, but Hattie got up and walked to the door. I think the reason is even she is with someone else every time Hattie was playing alone and her mom teaches to her independent behavior. For me, she is the most individualistic child in these 4 children. Hattie’s mother seemed to be doing much more educational actions rather than playing with her. Hattie’s mom seeming really concerned about her educational development and cleanliness. She read the book for Hattie, took her to mothers and children bonding class, and pool together, also concerned about her meal and always played inside. As an evaluation, although taking action on educational development from this early day is good for the child, babies should have interacted with babies and explore their environment.

Bayarjargal, Mongolia

In contrast other babies, Bayarjargal is often left alone on a bed and spends his early days nearly alone but seems to have a great attachment to the animals. Although the movie shows the nomadic culture of Mongolia, a scene that baby born in hospital proves that modern culture is growing more and more. His mom bundles him tightly and lays him on the bed as she goes about her work in the fields. Most people maybe though Bayarjargal’s mom tying him because protect him against falling from bed. But the secret behind this tradition is preventing from leg rachitic because babies’ bones are not developed yet and it is easy to lose leg shape in earlier days of being an infant.


In summary, the movie allows me to see what it is like growing up in a culture that I am unfamiliar with at all. If the babies will stay together, Bayarjargal and Ponijia will interact together, because of both of them more connected to the earth. Hattie would watch others attentively. Maybe Mary will try to control things. They are the same in some way, all began to crawl, walk, and talk around the same time even they raised differently in their world but still unique in their own way. 

10 Jun 2021

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