An extraordinary new series of films, commissioned by NOWNESS, delves into the heart of motherhood, placing normality at centre stage.
CHARLOTTE RIVERS FOR MOTHERLAND
Refreshing, honest, raw, and beautiful, just some of the words that come to mind when watching Between Man and Child, the first in a unique new series of films about motherhood that has been commissioned by NOWNESS. The series, titled Mother Nature, aims to delve into the heart of parenthood, placing normality at centre stage.
As the first in the series, Between Man and Child, directed by photographer Natasja Fourie, focuses on exploring the feelings of the mother-to-be, addressing issues of femininity, self-identity and transition. It sees Fourie bravely turn the camera on herself, beautifully capturing a significantly personal moment in time. Through the film she looks at the idea of both shifting self-identity, as well as the feelings of a new mother torn between man and child.
“Motherhood is a subject that we were interested in looking at as we felt there was a need for a new kind of cinematic voice exploring the topic of parenthood in a fresh way,” explains NOWNESS Commissioning Editor Katie Metcalfe. “We wanted to create a series of films that were really honest and ‘normal’ and offered a compelling and fresh perspective on motherhood and fatherhood. We also wanted to mark a departure from the judgement so often found in dialogues around parenthood, and show the reality of it all, unfiltered.”
Working with cinematographer Dagmar Scheibenreif, photographer and director Fourie shot many of the scenes for the film in her own home. “I approached a few expectant mothers with the view to potentially film them for the series, but many felt uncomfortable with the idea of explicit nudity on film,” she tells me. “As I was expecting my second child at the time I decided to turn the camera on myself.”
The result is an extraordinarily powerful film that challenges the usual preconceptions of motherhood and explores the topic in a way not often seen in popular culture. “I wanted to look at the idea of femininity, identity and transition,” Fourie continues. “Becoming a new mother is like being in limbo. You are in a state of physical and emotional transition. An uncertain place somewhere between melancholy and hope, with a feeling of both a fear of loss, and excitement about the new.”
The first film in the series can be viewed above, and two follow up films, which are currently in development, will be released later this year.