Babies, also known as Baby(ies) and Bébé(s), is a 2009 French documentary film by Thomas Balmès that follows four infants from birth to when they are one year old. The babies featured in the film are two from rural areas: Ponijao from Opuwo, Namibia, and Bayar from Bayanchandmani, Mongolia, as well as two from urban areas: Mari from Tokyo, Japan, and Hattie from San Francisco, USA.


In 1999, King Jigme Wangchuck approved the use of television and Internet throughout the largely undeveloped nation of Bhutan, assuring the masses that rapid development was synonymous with the “gross national happiness” of his country, a term he himself coined. Director Thomas Balmès’s film Happiness begins at the end of this process as Laya, the last remaining village tucked away within the Himalayan kingdom, becomes enmeshed in roads, electricity, and cable television. Through the eyes of an eight-year-old monk impatient with prayer and eager to acquire a TV set, we witness the seeds of this seismic shift sprouting during a three-day journey from the outskirts of Laya to the thriving capital of Thimphu. It is here the young boy discovers cars, toilets, colorful club lights, and countless other elements of modern life for the first time. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]