Fantasia 2021: ‘Baby, Don’t Cry’ review – The Beauty of Self Destruction
Zita Bai’s Baby, Don’t Cry is a reminder that inside every forgotten person is a kaleidoscope of lush color ready to burst. They just need a sparkle of attention. The good or bad kind, any spotlight will do. Even a cigarette lighter… But escaping loneliness through a muse comes with a hefty price tag attached. Dependancy.
This 2021 Fantasia Film Festival review contains spoilers.
Always peeking through a lens, whether by camera or the dusty school bus window. Baby’s eyes dart across living, breathing scenery of an outside world that won’t invite her in. A snow globe that will shatter the moment she tries to gain access.
In turn, Baby will attempt to live vicariously through others to the last drop. Her teenage years silently sentenced to a life of forced, unspoken isolation. Throw away the key into Earth’s deepest well. Never to be heard.
During one scene, Baby is voluntarily locked away in a bathroom stall. Tuning her ear to the popular, golden haired blondes discussing their sexual escapades. Joining their social circle via the power of invisibility… As Baby feels the only way she’ll be accepted, is by hiding herself away entirely. At least early on in the film.
Baby’s one outlet to the world, her camera is stolen & sold by a teenage boy named Fox, played by actor Vas Provatakis. Though initially she tries bargaining for it back and is furious when he lies about it… She soon finds herself enamored with her own robber, despite his aggressiveness towards her. The beginning trend of a type of Stockholm Syndrome.
No matter how mean spirited Fox is toward Baby at times in the film, calling her names that hit to the very core of a human being… Every good memory with Fox overshadows it like an eclipse. More than that, it’s a chance at escaping loneliness. At being heard when the world had her on mute.
Baby comes from a broken home and is constantly appeasing her mother, played by actress Helen Sun. Always sheepishly apologizing through body language on her own home turf. One’s sanctuary & shelter reduced to a cold war battleground.
Even when Baby’s mother has deeply wounded her verbally and occasionally physically… You’ll see Baby crouch down again and again in total submission. Docile. Vulnerable. Meek.
Thus, when Baby finds herself at a crossroads in life where Fox takes her bully semi-hostage at gunpoint… She adapts her value system to Fox’s by slapping her bully under his command. Her loneliness and need to be accepted at the heart of it all.
Her grades in art class begin to spiral downwards out control, she begins to experiment with drugs, and Fox’s enemies become hers. In essence, Baby had traded in her original life in full just to be part of Fox’s. Her highs are Fox’s highs, her lows are Fox’s lows.
When faced at the sight of losing her muse, Baby is reduced once again to crouching down for forgiveness while being insulted. Just like at home… There are times when you wonder if loose cannon Fox even exists at all or if he’s the product of Baby’s isolated state.
Searching for a Voice
Screenwriter & actress Zita Bai shows exceptional range as Baby in Baby, Don’t Cry. Honest, unguarded, and true to life. A lost human being searching for someone who needs her.
A person who will amplify her voice from a forgotten whisper to a triumphant roar. Even if only in the world they inhibit together. In the end, what can be more universally relatable?
– Be sure to check out The Natural Aristocrat’s interview with Zita Bai, Vas Provatakis, and Qiyu Zhou on ‘Baby, Don’t Cry’
– Learn more about ‘Baby, Don’t Cry’ at Fantasia International Film Festival
– Looking for more Fantasia Film Festival coverage? Read The Natural Aristocrat’s interviews with Dreams on Fire Director Philippe McKie and lead star Bambi Naka. Plus, our full Dreams on Fire movie review!