Sunday, July 3

The Cannes Film Festival premieres ‘Anatomía dunha serea’, the short film that addresses obstetric violence in the first person

The Cans Festival premieres this Saturday the short film Dunha serea anatomy, a documentary piece that brings obstetric violence to the screen in the first person, through the experience of the Galician actress Iria Pinheiro. Behind the camera is the audiovisual producer Adriana Páramo (Vigo, 1985), who explains that her intention is to “bring closer to a reality” that she considers continues to have little presence in public debate and that is unknown even to a good part of those who suffer from it. Or they may suffer. The director says that she herself had not heard of obstetric violence until she came across the play that Pinheiro co-wrote and starred in in 2018. As she progressed in the work, she says, the “anger that these abusive situations occurred ”, but also “for not knowing that this was happening”.

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Páramo was preparing her doctorate on documentary and gender at a London university, where she lived for years. He was at a “dead point” when he found out about Pinheiro’s work and asked him to record the process of creating his play. At first he did not shoot with the idea of ​​making a short documentary, but later he thought that the material had “potential” to go beyond the academic circuit. As she learned what had happened to the actress, the director began to notice that her story was affecting her “as a woman”: “She made me see motherhood in a different way.”

Pinheiro tells the camera how, during her delivery in a hospital of the Servizo Galego de Saúde (Sergas), they performed an episiotomy -a cut in the vulva- without informing her and the consequences that it caused: constant pain that met with misunderstanding in Galician public health. The short film shows how, faced with a situation that does not improve and in view of the high cost of undertaking a judicial process, the actress decides to use the stage to denounce obstetric violence. She goes into the process of writing the script and staging the play, which was also called Dunha serea anatomy. Páramo highlights the “very educational” approach with which Pinheiro talks about what happened to him in the delivery room. Alone on stage, the actress uses a humorous tone to present the practices and instruments used with women at the time of childbirth: spatulas, forceps, episiotomy scissors.

The short focuses not only on the procedures to which women are subjected, in some cases, such as that of Pinheiro, without even informing them or asking for consent, but also on the treatment to which women are subjected from the moment they enter the a hospital. She remembers that the health workers who treated her rushed her because there was going to be a shift change. “It is important to talk about this. It is being talked about more and more, but there are many people who still do not know what it is”, reflects Páramo. The director highlights the stupefaction of the actress and her own when she learned of this reality.

Páramo recalls that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Organization (UN) recognize obstetric violence, but in Spain the concept causes “controversy”. The General Council of Official Medical Associations released a statement in mid-2021 in which it rejects it and considers that it “criminalizes” professionals. A study published a few months later in the scientific journal Women and Birth calculated that up to two out of every three women who have been mothers in Spain have been able to suffer some type of obstetric violence. Among the most cited by the participants in the analysis were the repetitive explorations and by different people, feelings of insecurity and guilt and the acceleration of labor. Although medical recommendations are not to reach 15% of vaginal deliveries with episiotomy, in Spain, according to 2016 data, the rate was 26% and decades ago this practice was applied in almost all births.

The director emphasizes that she does not seek to advise a way to give birth and that this is not Iria Pinheiro’s approach either: “This short film is against obstetric violence, not against entering a hospital to give birth.”

The short will be screened at the festival, in the parish of O Porriño that gives it its name, on the closing day of this XIX edition, which has been held again in spring and with its traditional chimps. Dunha serea anatomy It is part of the Furacáns section, for which 12 non-fiction shorts have been chosen. For the director, who is visiting the festival for the third time presenting a work, this appointment is especially “exciting” because she is pregnant and she considers the documentary “something personal”.