September 9, 2017
This director found a way to shoot her documentary where every day was a “revelation.”
Ramona Diaz’s latest documentary does not hold your hand. In fact, it throws you right into the heart of chaos: the busiest maternity ward in the world, Fabella Hospital in Manila, Phillipines. Like many of the patients and staff in a place that averages 60 births a day, you are a little bit overwhelmed upon entrance.
It’s not the easiest viewing experience, but it is effective. So effective, in fact, that Diaz walked away from the film’s Sundance 2017 premiere with a jury award for “Commanding Vision.” And the director exhibited a commanding vision indeed, insisting from day one that the film be shot fully fly-on-the-wall without a single interview. The resulting work should be given to every film student as a modern example of vérité mastery.