If you're in the mood for something out of the mainstream, I've got three recommendations for you this weekend.
"Babies" is a wonderful documentary that cuts back and forth between the lives of four babies from four different countries: Africa, Mongolia, Japan, and America.
There's no narration. Instead, "Babies" is a collection of intimate moments in the first year of the lives of the four little people.
You'd have to have a heart of stone not to enjoy "Babies," a film that reminds us of our beginnings--when we too were tiny, helpless beings who had to learn everything about life from scratch. Edited down from over 400 hours of footage, "Babies" made me smile for an hour and fourteen minutes.
My second pick is the long awaited "Princess Kaiulani" which makes its debut in a handful of cities this weekend.
This is a must-see film for anyone who lives in Hawaii.
Q'orianka Kilcher is perfect as the strong and beautiful young princess who did all she could to help her people before and after the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom.
The film is so beautifully shot and edited it reminds me of a Merchant-Ivory film. For my tastes, though, the script is almost a little too lyrical and reverential. Still, it's a pleasure to watch.
Finally, there's "The Unbroken," a big budget, prize winning film from Japan starring the always excellent Ken Watanabe who plays an airline employee with a conscience and a good heart even though his employers treat him like a criminal.
"The Unbroken" is based on a true story about an airline that put profits ahead of safety with disastrous results.
It's a long, slow, old fashioned film by American standards, but if you stick with it, you're likely to be captured by its strong human drama.