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Motherland

Thursday, April 06, 2017
6:00 p.m.
YBCA Screening Room

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Saturday, April 08, 2017
7:30 p.m.
Roxie Theater

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Guests Expected

Director Ramona S. Diaz expected to attend April 4 and 8 screenings.

Description

A maternity hospital in Manila, Philippines, bursts at the seams with the chaos of new life, as cameras capture the shock of childbirth, the exhaustion of new motherhood, the discomforts of poverty, and the valiance of efforts by hospital staff and loving family to face uncertain futures. Mothers engaged in critical care of their infants—some wrapping their prematurely arrived newborns inside cloths to keep them warm while coping with medication regimes, incubation, and sleep deprivation—are packed side-by-side on single beds in one large room, where staff offer daily loudspeaker announcements encouraging compliance with doctors’ and nurses’ instructions. Family visits offer support for the mothers but bring the bigger picture front and center for the viewer: some cannot pay the bus fare to the hospital, not to mention the pharmaceutical fees, and will be bringing both mother and baby back to indigent conditions. But what Diaz and crew capture is not at all a sight of pity, it’s a refreshing ode to resilience—as mothers in the ward laugh, cry, and support one another in their hour-by-hour struggles and staff maintain an empathetically watchful order. The production’s palpable optimism and unflagging belief in human spirit signal a rebirth of the cinema vérité enterprise itself. –Susan Gerhard

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Motherland director and co-producer Ramona S. Diaz’s directorial work includes Spirits Rising (1996), Imelda (2003), The Learning (2011), and Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (Festival 2012). Her films have been broadcast on POV and Independent Lens and screened widely at festivals, including the San Francisco International Film Festival, Berlin, Tribeca Film Festival, IDFA, Sundance, and Silver Docs. Motherland won the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award. Diaz, a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, was recently inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 
Film Details
  • Country(ies): USA/Philippines
  • Language(s): Filipino
  • Year: 2017
  • Running time: 94
  • Director(s): Ramona S. Diaz
  • Producer(s): Ramona S. Diaz, Rey Cuerdo
  • Cinematographer(s): Nadia Hallgren, Clarissa De Los Reyes
  • Editor(s): Leah Marino

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