Overall Rating for this Program: ★★★★☆
Expecting (★★★★☆), by French filmmaker Alice Douard, opens with expectant mother Jeanne (Laetitia Dosch) doing birth exercises as her partner and future co-parent Céline (Clotilde Hesme) watches in amusement.
Soon, the two will enter new territory of raising a child. With it, comes all of the uncertainty, confusion, and excitement of giving birth: What will they name the child? Will the birth be done naturally or with an epidural? Will the two make a good parenting team?
The film juxtaposes a lesbian couple against a heterosexual couple, who are also expecting and it makes a subtle statement about gay parenting. Yann (Julien Gaspar-Oliveri) the straight father, asks Celine in the hospital waiting room if everything is alright with her sister. She gently corrects him.
Even in our present day, it’s a challenge for many to wrap their heads around same-sex parenting. Yet the nervous anticipation remains the same for any would-be parent regardless of sexual orientation.
Douard captures all of the mixed emotions that such a life changing event can bring in this well-crafted film that affirms the beauty and miracle of childbirth.
Only two actors star in Périphérie (★★★☆☆), a French short from writer/director Thibault Bru.
A pregnant Eva (Andréa Bescond) is three days past her due date. Her doctor suggests that she induce and to wait longer would put her and the baby at risk. In haste, Eva and her girlfriend rush to the hospital. On the drive there, they experience waves of emotions from fear, anxiety, desire for companisonsip, and at one point, hilarity.
Bru’s brief tale paints a brief but realistic portrait of a committed couple that has deep flaws and differences, but anchors their relationship in honesty and love.
A whirlwind of social, cultural, and gender, issues are packed into Lambing (★★★★★), a short film set in rural Ireland that explores what happens when childbirth is met with an unexpected outcome. “You’re going to be a great dad, you know that?” Caoimhe (Johanna O’Brien) tells her husband, David (Fiach Kunz).
But David doesn’t quite know how to handle the newborn once it is diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. Nor can he escape the demons of his past of his macho father, who pushed him to be more masculine as a young boy.
Eventually, the father and son reconcile in a touching scene, but Lambing is a profoundly thought-provoking and excellent movie that raises awareness, bringing compassion to a too-often marginalized group.
Parenthood Shorts play exclusively in the Virtual Festival through Oct. 29.
Reel Affirmations 2023 includes the Virtual Film Festival, providing online access to 43 films for those film lovers who cannot attend the festival in person, with a viewing window from Oct. 23 to 29.
Browse the full Virtual Festival catalog here.
Buy Virtual Festival passes here.
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