By Amanda Gilmore
Midwives documents a small birthing clinic in the highly politicized region of western Myanmar, where Rohingya Muslims are persecuted. The owner of the Centre, a Buddhist named Hla, helps all women who enter the facility. She works along with the assistance of Nyo Nyo, a member of the Rohingya Muslim community and Hla’s apprentice.
This is one of the best Documentaries of the year. Hlaing brings us to an area of the world where a civil war has been waging for years and the minority group, the Rohingya people, have been made to live in fear under the military regime. But amongst this war, Director Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing shows us a story of empathy and hope through the beautiful act of caring for the ill and bringing new life into the world.
She followed Hla and Nyo Nyo for over five years, and what she captured is a story of resilience.
Even though Hla faces huge risks and possibly getting her clinic shut down for treating Rohingya Muslims, she continues to do it. Hla is doing all she can to help, however, she still uses a name for the Rohingya people that they find insulting, even when speaking to or about Nyo Nyo. Including these moments shows how ingrained prejudices can still have an effect on even those who are actively fighting to help.
Over the five years, Nyo Nyo learns how to become a medical practitioner from Hla. After desiring to flee western Myanmar for a different city where her sister lives, life gets in the way and she is forced to stay. However, her determination and resilience to make something of her life leads her to raise money and build her own clinic. Through the interviews with Nyo Nyo, we get a wider view of not only the conflict happening but the positions women are placed. Her inspiring story shatters the boxes that society had packed her into.
Overall, see Midwives whenever and wherever you can. You won’t regret it.
Midwives screens at Hot Docs ’22:
Sun, May 1 at 8:15 PM at Isabel Bader Theatre
Thu, May 5 at 11:45 AM at Varsity
Online streaming is available for five days starting on MAY 2 at 9:00 AM