A vibrant, Sundance award-winning Filipino documentary filmed in the busiest maternity hospital in the world, that reveals an overcrowded, hectic and yet profoundly humane environment.
Mothers, daughters – and the occasional father – cram the corridors of Manila's Dr. Jose Fabella Hospital. The ward is frenetic: hundreds of beds are strewn with mums and their carefully labelled new-borns. Birth control is frowned upon in this underprivileged, predominantly Catholic community; even unmarried teens and 20-somethings with six kids are reluctant to use it. Resources are limited so, in lieu of incubators, the hospital has adopted Kangaroo Mother Care. Parents are obliged to snuggle their premature babies to their chest, 24 hours a day, until they reach an optimum weight. The camaraderie and openness of these resilient mothers makes Ramona S. Diaz's film enormously engaging and gratifyingly uplifting.
While these women understand their plight, they are not defined by it; they remain stoic, proud, bawdy in their interactions and loyal to those around them, going so far as to breastfeed the babies of those unable to do so. – Nikki Baughan, Screen International
Motherland not only provides an expressively etched account of specialised medical care, but also a telling perspective on dominant social trends and healthcare policy issues in the Philippines. – Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter
Festival guest: Ramona S. Diaz