Midwives – Stronger than Fiction Documentary Series

Dendy Cinema Canberra
Repeat screening Friday 29 July at 6.30pm

Burmese/Rakhine Language with English Subtitles
91 mins, awaiting classification

In a remote corner of Rakhine state, Myanmar, a Buddhist midwife and her Rohingya Muslim apprentice form an unlikely alliance amidst escalating ethnic violence. 

Stronger than Fiction co-director Hannah de Feyter talks to Barbie about Midwives

This documentary treads a delicate and interesting line between the political and the personal. The intimacy of the film making process allows us entrée to family and health settings and at the same time the almost backdrop coverage of the socio-religious and political turmoil is seen with startling clarity.

It will send you researching the history and politics of Myanmar if you are not already across the many issues illuminated in this documentary.

Director Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing made this film in her home town over five years of escalating turmoil in Myanmar. Her ability to tell Hla and Ngo Ngo’s story from the inside results in a character study that’s as layered and complex as a novel. Midwives offers unmatched insight into life behind the headlines.

Despite their religious differences, the sharp-tongued Hla and her headstrong trainee Ngo Ngo are brought together by shared resourcefulness and a desire to help women in their community.

It’s a deeply complicated relationship: the two women’s personalities and ambitions couldn’t be more different, and although Hla puts herself at risk to help Rohingya women, her demanding standards and casual racism are a source of strain for Ngo Nyo.

The Stronger than Fiction documentary film series is co-directed and co-curated in Canberra by Deborah Kingsland and Hannah de Feyter. Films are screened monthly and there is usually a repeat screening about a week after the first. Post film discussion is always a very worthwhile part of the experience.