Childbirth is the easy part, according to Dana Ben-Ari’s documentary Breastmilk. The real ordeal begins when you make the decision whether or not to breastfeed, and whether or not you’re prepared to deal with the world of pressures – both internal and external – that bear down on that decision.
In making a case that this most natural of acts is in fact the fulcrum of a host of hot-button societal, historical, cultural, sexual and political issues, Ben-Ari’s doc opts for a lot of talking on matters such as biological determinism, enduring social taboos and the ongoing struggle for women to reconcile motherhood with the postfeminist presumptions of gender equity and individual autonomy.
There could be a fascinating and illuminating movie in this, about the tendency of certain sectors of society to intellectualize and theorize the natural to the point of paralysis, but Breastmilk takes all of its testimonials at their dry word, leaving one to marvel at how much theoretical distance can come even between a baby and its mother.
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