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Posted by Andy Lawrence Posted: Wed 25th Jul, 20:13:45

Steven and Rachel during her labour

Posted by Andy Lawrence Posted: Wed 25th Jul, 16:59:31

Trailer for Matrix

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2 minute promo from assembly cut of Birth Rites Movie, With Woman November 2007


With Woman will look at the experience of childbirth in modern day England. Locations are entirely in the North West of England, specifically in Blackburn and Manchester. An observational approach has been used to depict character and situation, and birth sequences will remain uncut to emphasise the ‘rawness’ of childbirth. This will be juxtaposed with a more painterly approach to landscape, and the all important ‘elemental’ aspect to the film.  Here the camera will be mounted on a tripod, scenes will be dramatic and well lit. This will create a magical-real environment in which to go beyond the limits of our historical perspective on childbirth and its culturally bound totems and taboos.

The aim in this film is to re-unite a divided sense of experience in childbirth, and in doing so will explore midwifery.  The midwife is in many ways a contemporary shamen who draws together these separations, and helps a woman navigate her way through the transformation of pregnancy, childbirth and mothering.  The medical establishment has developed more specific and exclusive areas of gynaecology, obstetrics and paedeatrics which correspond to these stages.  Therefore continuity of care, language and approach will all be considered in the film.

By presenting elements in the film, earth, air, fire and water and their unity in our landscape, I hope to demonstrate how myopic our view of childbirth has become.  We talk of childbirth in terms of homes and hospitals, the concrete edifices of our present day, yet childbirth has been with us, like the elements since the beginning of time, our time at least. We have consequently lost any cosmic consideration of childbirth, and it no longer holds a sacred place in our society.

The three main aspects of the film may be described as,

Birth Rites, looking at the experience of women birthing in England today, specifically four birth scenarios will be presented, an elective caesarean, a protracted labour, with epidural, which did not progress well to the second stage and resulted in an emergency caesarean section, both in hospital. A home birth, where the woman laboured quickly, and was alone until the second stage, and gave birth with no intervention, assisted by an independant midwife. And a planned homebirth, which has yet to happen.

With Woman
, which will look at the role of the midwife. Is the midwife a nurse who should be brought under the authority of the medical establishment or a sage femme who guides women through the most transformative experience in their lives?  Should they be encouraged to practice independently and be given the status that the French name for midwife – sage femme, suggests? 

Mother’s Wealth
, Has childbirth been divided and who's in charge?  Has the historical battle between doctors and midwives constituted a struggle to control access to the fundamental process involved in our existence?  Perhaps the most stunning example of this I have discovered is electrosonic scanning.  Before the invention of scanning, birth was necessarily woman centred, a woman must be consulted and considered to get any understanding of the foetus’s wellbeing.  One only became two at the moment of birth.  With the advent of scanning came the dominance of the medical discourse in childbirth, now at 12 weeks the hospital  gains access to the baby despite the woman, with their machines they can see things the woman cannot feel, and preset scenarios which would not have formerly been considered until after separation.  The language is difficult to understand and the process, unless all goes well can be disempowering. Here the foetus becomes a separate being more under the control of the hospital than the woman at just 12 weeks.  But birth is safer, for baby and mother?


Posted by Andy Lawrence Posted: Tue 24th Jul, 10:04:59

  Josh and Sammy

Posted by Andy Lawrence Posted: Tue 24th Jul, 10:01:49

Andy showing the camera to Sammy and Josh

Posted by Andy Lawrence Posted: Tue 24th Jul, 00:12:57


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