Birth – Review

Signe Baumane, BIRTH, 2009 'Amina and her Mother'

“Mystery of teenage rage,” her mother said.

Signe Baumane‘s Birth (2009) – Amina cries in her soup, worrying about the delivery. She asks her mother, but she goes on to tell her about eating properly so her bones won’t be brittle, and that babies are found in cabbages. He mother tells her not to worry about babies because she is still a baby, herself, as her words emanate from the smoke of her cigarette. Her mother wasn’t listening; Amina is trying to tell her that she is pregnant. When she returned to her room that reminded her of her childhood, her world began to crumble; the walls closed in around her. She needed help–and not from her mother.

“Believe me,” she said, “it is so bad.”

Signe Baumane, BIRTH, 2009 'He smashed me'

Amina spoke with her aunt about the child birthing process. Her aunt tells her that having a child is an awful thing and how men make you carry babies for them–just so they can take them away. She digressed about her own life and how beautiful she once was, how her body was a temple that men worshiped and how that was gone. Her husband smashed her into bits and pieces; the baby gone along with him. Although she learned that men sometimes don’t always stay with his family, she knew that her body will be forever changed and he may not worship it as he once did. Amina left her aunt with her tales of a broken heart. Still terrified of what’s to become of her.

The next woman Amina visited told her own tale of detachment. How she was unable to take care of her child because she did not have a husband. She had to give her baby away. It wasn’t easy, for the cord is still attached; she still wonders how and what her baby is doing now. The animation goes on to show how her worry had taken its toll on her appearance. Once so lively and beautiful–now hampered and hunched, forever pulling on an umbilical cord of the baby she gave away. Amina learned that there is an attachment that would never be broken.

“The only problem is the umbilical cord,” she said.

Signe Baumane, BIRTH 2009, MUBI

Amina’s tale to her mother about how she became pregnant was that of  beauty; that her lover taught her how to touch the sky, about how he worshiped her, and taught her how to lie down in the tall grass, and show her that nothing else mattered but her. She learned that they cannot get back to the sky, that her body would be smashed, and how he will lie in the grass with another girl. She will be destroyed.

Her mother’s negative reaction to her pregnancy was expected. Maybe it was because her dreams ended when she became pregnant. Director Baumane succinctly captures an emotional quest for knowledge through the eyes of a young girl who is pregnant and afraid. A marvelously animated tale of Birth as an event. A journey of unanswered questions and concerns. Ultimately, after all is said and done, the only thing that mattered was the bond between a loving mother and her child.

Signe Baumane interview at 2010 Woodstock Film Festival

Signe was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, and lives in New York. Her interest in promoting her own and other independent animators’ work extends into collaboration with festival programmers. She is a programing adviser for New York Exposition of Short Film and Video, Florida Film Festival, Red Bank International Film Festival, and Woodstock Film Festival. She has initiated and curated numbers of independent animation programs and is in the organizing core of Square Footage Films, a New York group of independent animators that self-publishes and self-distributes DVDs of their work.

Source - Mubi

Birth
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

  • Birth
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  • Last modified: 09/14/2012

Review Summary:

'Amina, 17, is pregnant. She is afraid of giving birth. She asks her friends and aunts for more information, sympathy and support. She receives quite the opposite from them. In the end, it’s the child that decides.' MUBI

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