Thy Womb (2012)
Birthing Cultures In Misunderstood Time/Spaces
By Tito Genova Valiente
THE wide expanse of the sea and the constant rain, and the vision of Brillante Ma. Mendoza—these are all that is needed for great cinema to be formed. Then there is the presence of Nora Aunor, natural and artifactual, filling the spaces with her silences and silencing the spaces of doubts, pains, understanding and misunderstanding, historical and individual, with a performance that will go down in history as the ultimate in the aesthetics of reality. Or realities.
The film Thy Womb has a story that is terribly cinematic but also rare, as in ordinary. The story begins with a woman, Shaleha, a midwife, who collects the umbilical cords of the children she delivers. After each birthing, she brings the inch-long snippet from the cord now wrapped in gauze or cloth and hangs it on a wall, along with other umbilical cords of earlier births. The rope from which those birth cords hang is a tiny history of population in her community. The collection of cords is an almost hyperbolic sign of fertility against the incapacity of Shaleha to have a child. Read complete review