Saturday, January 26, 2008

Childbirth Film Screenings in Bangalore

The Bangalore Birth Network and Vikalp Bengaluru (Films for Freedom) cordially invite you to


Saturday, 2 February, 2008, 6:30 pm
Birth in the Squatting Position (10 mins, Brazil)
Born at Home (60 mins, India)

Sunday, 3 February, 2008, 3:00 pm
Birth Day (10 mins, Mexico)
The Business of Being Born (83 mins, USA)

Note: All films are in English or have English subtitles.
All films show actual births and are graphic.

Nani Cinema, Centre for Film and Drama
5th Floor, Sona Towers, 71 Millers Road
Bangalore 560052



Birth is a miracle, a rite of passage, a natural part of life. But birth is also big business.

Compelled to explore the subject after the delivery of her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to question the way American women have babies.

Epstein gains access to several pregnant New York City women as they weigh their options. Some of these women are or will become clients of Cara Muhlhahn, a charismatic midwife who, between birth events, shares both memories and footage of her own birth experience.

Footage of women having babies punctuates THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN. Each experience is unique; all are equally beautiful and equally surprising. Giving birth is clearly the most physically challenging event these women have ever gone through, but it is also the most emotionally rewarding.

Along the way, Epstein conducts interviews with a number of obstetricians, experts and advocates about the history, culture and economics of childbirth. The film's fundamental question: should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency?

As Epstein uncovers some surprising answers, her own pregnancy adds a very personal dimension to THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN, a must-see movie for anyone even thinking about having a baby.


Born at Home observes indigenous birth practices and practitioners in parts of India (rural Rajasthan, Bihar, and the urban working class area of Jahangirpuri in Delhi). Poised between social reality and the eternal mystery of childbearing, the film poses a critical question. When dais or midwives are known to handle about 50% of births in India, why does the state not recognise the inherited and low-cost skills of the almost one million traditional practitioners in the country? Natural birth clinics and home births are increasing in numbers in the west, but our brand of progress continues to undermine our vast and centuries-old knowledge base. There are innumerable instances where modernity has only served to reinforce prejudices. The film presents an intricate delineation of the figure of the dai who is almost always a low-caste, poor woman. Unlike medical science to whose life-saving power the best of dais pay homage, indigenous birth methods are holistic, conceiving of childbirth not as pathology but continuation of organic life. Gender and class issues are juxtaposed with images of the post-partum massage, the ritual bath, and finally the miracle of an actual birth. Mind-body, earth-cosmos become one unified whole when, negotiating the nether world of pain and labour, a new life thrusts it way up into the sun. The dai's hands are experienced and empathetic as she guides the process.

The Bangalore Birth Network is a group of professionals and concerned citizens in Bangalore whose purpose is to raise awareness of and promote safe and supported birth and evidence-based care, from pregnancy through postpartum. We aim to provide information and education to women and their families that enhance the understanding of birth as a normal life process and enable them to make informed decisions. Through education and advocacy, we seek to provide training to practitioners that will encourage this quality of care. For more information or to join the network, contact Paige at