Midwives at SFFilm

There are very few matinees on weekdays in this year’s SFFilm Festival. So, I’ve been attending one film a day.

And Monday, the movie I saw was a powerful documentary called Midwives.

Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing, the young Burmese woman who made Midwives, has far more courage than I do. Over several years, she followed two midwives – one Buddhist, one Muslim – both close friends, through the upheavals, ethnic cleansing, and the overthrow of democracy. While Myanmar (Burma) goes through violent disruptions, they work in their small clinic bringing new life into the world. I give the film an A-.

Hlaing answered questions after the film. Here are some responses, altered for clarity, brevity, and how fast I could accurately write.

Hlaing on left

  • People were fleeing the country.
  • I needed to find two midwives.
  • I wanted to show a Buddhist and a Muslim working together.
  • I avoided big cameras; they bring attention. I mostly shot the film on an iPhone so no one looked suspicious.
  • I took five years to make the film. I had to get a lot of grants. I pitched a lot.
  • I edited the film during COVID. I couldn’t go out.
  • I don’t think I can ever go back.