Saturday, August 29, 2009

DVD Review: The Big Stretch

DVD Review: The Big Stretch
By Alieta Belle & Jenny Blyth
60 Minutes, includes 20 page booklet

Reviewed by Molly Remer, MSW, ICCE

The author of the book Birthwork is also a filmmaker whose recent project is the film The Big Stretch, which she co-created with another mother. The particularly special thing about this film is that it is all about women sharing their own experiences and feelings--unlike many current birth movies there are no "experts" present in the film (other than the true experts--women themselves!), the focus is on the families preparing for birth or reflecting on their past birth experiences. The many topics addressed are insightful.

The film's emphasis is on, "Women in different stages of pregnancy and preparing for a natural birth reflect on how they and 'stretched' in everyway - emotionally, physically and spiritually" and I enjoyed this "stretch" theme that ran throughout.

Introducing new scenes/topic is neat artwork and the images in this film in general are particularly gorgeous. In one exception, I was taken aback by footage at the close of the film of a totally naked man riding a bicycle and feel I should warn other viewers to be prepared for that!

The DVD is accompanied by a 20 page booklet full of questions that carries the themes from the film into personal questions to increase self-awareness during pregnancy.

The Big Stretch is a unique and beautiful film in which women’s voices are clearly represented. There are no titles, no degrees, no qualifications listed. This film is a perceptive “motherful” look at the many stretches of birthing: physical, emotional, mental, and cultural.


Molly said...

Um ... now I'm curious. Can you tell us WHY the naked man was riding a bicycle (or rather why the bicycle-riding man was naked)? Incidentally, I was surprised and amused one evening last week, on a walk with my husband and our three-year-old, to see a man riding his bike home in nothing but tighty-whities. I'm still curious about THAT, too.

CfM Molly said...

No, I cannot. It was startling and unexplained! Well, not totally unexplained--the film was closing with a discussion about family bonding and showing the various families in the film playing outside together, going for walks, running and laughing, splashing in the ocean, and then a small boy (with clothes on!) riding a bicycle followed by a smiling man on a bicycle. As he got closer to the camera I was saying to myself, "he's wearing tan shorts, he's wearing tan shorts, please let him be wearing tan shorts..." but he pedaled on by with a grin and full frontal view. Then, the film faded out on his naked bottom pedaling off into the distance...

Then, credits roll while a pregnant lady painted with paints that show up in black light dances. That part is cool (though not everyone would agree with me on that probably!)


Anonymous said...

I thought it was an adorable scene. It's just a naked man..

Anonymous said...

I recently bought this dvd for childbirth classes and after previewing it I'm disappointed to say that it's totally unsuitable for the type of large multicultural groups we get in the public health system. As a piece of artwork on the naked pregnant woman (and occasional man) it's quite beautiful. As I recall all the people who appeared on the film were caucasian and obviously followers of an alternative lifestyle. Frankly if I showed it during my classes half of them would be laughing and the other half would be very uncomfortable. Definitely think about your audience before purchasing.