Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Business of Being Born

This month marks the theatrical release of the dynamic new birth film The Business of Being Born produced by Ricki Lake and directed by Abby Epstein.

Here is a modified except of my review of this film from the fall issue of CfM News:

This film explores the culture of birth in the United States. Clips of current media portrayals of “typical” births--such as
Maternity Ward—are contrasted with shadowing a homebirth midwife visiting with pregnant women and their partners in their homes. Interview clips are also interspersed throughout the film—interviews with doctors who are vocally and unpleasantly opposed to homebirth and midwifery as well as physicians expressing their support and enthusiasm. Clips with other experts are also shared, including one with CfM’s very own Susan Hodges.

The film includes footage of the homebirths of several of the couples interviewed prenatally. The births are gorgeous and lovingly portrayed. The film also shares intimate footage of Ricki Lake’s own homebirth in her bathtub. The birth was very beautiful and touching and it is stunning to see brash, confident Ricki in such a trusting and vulnerable state.

While I do have some lingering reservations about the way the filmmakers chose to close the film, my conclusion is that this was a very moving, engaging, and emotional film. I laughed, cried (at least three times!), and alternately felt outrage, triumph, disappointment, joy, shock, and excitement.

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