Movie: "Babies"

A new film premiering just in time for Mother’s Day has seen the kind of buzz most filmmakers only dream about receiving. What’s even more notable is that the film is a documentary, a form not usually known for generating the type of excitement typically reserved for action movies.

Of course, when the subject of the movie is four unbelievably adorable infants, that apparently changes matters. Ever since the trailer for the movie “Babies” debuted late last year, movie fans have been eagerly awaiting the documentary, which follows the antics of four babies — Ponijao in Namibia, Bayarjargal in Mongolia, Mari in Tokyo and Hattie in San Francisco — as they embark on their first year of the extraordinary adventure known as life.

Director Thomas Balmès shot most of the film himself — 400 days of shooting over a two-year period — to capture the intimate moments of the lives of the infants and their families. “From my perspective, this was an opportunity to do a nonfiction film of pure observation,” he said in an interview on the Focus Feature website, which is distributing the film. “Most of those films today are entirely scripted.”

“Babies” will be released in select cities May 7. For information — and to see the trailer — visit www.filminfocus.com/focusfeatures/film/babies.

Book: The Truth about the Shroud of Turin  

Timed for the first public exposition of the Shroud of Turin in a decade, which runs April 10 to May 23 in Turin’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, journalist Robert K. Wilcox has released an updated version of his 1970 investigation into the authenticity of what many believe is Christ’s burial cloth.  

The Truth about the Shroud of Turin: Solving the Mystery” (Regnery, $16.95) assembles the latest scientific evidence, reviews the conclusions, and includes interviews with scientists and researches.  

Despite all the technical details and occasional theological asides, the book reads like a “CSI Shroud,” a fast-paced and accessible mystery, which some of the finest minds on the planet are trying to crack.  

Wilcox does little to hide his own conclusion, but he’s careful not to stack the deck one way or the other. In the end, you decide.

Website: EncouragePriests.org   

Reports of clergy sex abuse have put priests in the spotlight, and not in a positive way. Priests, the vast majority of whom are holy and faithful men, need prayers and support. What an appropriate time, then, for the debut of a new website that provides just those things.  

Catholics Come Home, an apostolate that has successfully reached fallen-away Catholics, has a new initiative — EncouragePriests.org. The website, which launches June 20, will allow Catholics to send clergy e-greeting cards and spiritual bouquets, and will promote priestly vocations. For a sneak peek, visit www.encouragepriests.org.  

Catholics Come Home founder Tom Peterson said in a statement: “It’s timely to launch this movement during the Year for Priests as declared by Pope Benedict XVI, and to continue supporting the priesthood for many years to come! Our mission is to encourage priests, and promote priestly vocations through our love and prayers.”