A documentary narration of ten years by Katja Baumgarten
Greta is born lifeless. She doesn’t survive. Four years later, her midwife and doctor is on trial for manslaughter. The verdict: A prison sentence, a lifelong ban on practicing and damages to her parents. After release from prison, nothing is like before. [ more ]
Cinematography: Gisela Tuchtenhagen, Katja Baumgarten
Editing: Christian Iseli
Courtroom drawings: Nikolaus Baumgarten:
Germany, 96 minuten, 2023
World premiere: DOK.fest Munich May 5th 2023
Winner best German language documentary Viktor DOK.deutsch
Followed by a film talk with Katja Baumgarten
Award Winner at the DOK.fest Munich
From the jury statement:
“From an unpretentious and feminist standpoint, she tells the story of a progressive midwife and doctor whose life becomes a nightmare as a result of the trial. We become witnesses to a tendentious and unprecedented verdict that not only destroys an entire existence but also ‘advances long-standing efforts to limit the work of independent midwives. With GRETAS GEBURT the filmmaker succeeds in making an essential contribution to this highly sensitive topic and impressively demonstrates the social relevance of documentary film work.”
A nightmare has become reality: A little girl is born lifeless. Her midwife and doctor begins resuscitate her. Later, an emergency physician takes over. The little girl doesn’t survive. Her parents name her Greta.
Four years later, her midwife and doctor is on trial. Greta wasn’t in the usual position in her mother’s womb. She was lying the other way around. Why did Greta die? Was it a mistake on the part of her midwife and doctor? Did she deliberately cause Greta’s death? The verdict: “Guilty of manslaughter”. Six years and nine months in prison, professional ban, compensatory damages. Questions remain unanswered.
It is an unprecedented verdict after the unfortunate outcome of a birth. After her release from prison, nothing is the same for the former doctor and midwife, now in her late 60s. She no longer feels like she has a place in the German legal system.
Originally I only wanted to attend the first day of the trial, then come back later for the sentencing. What I experience in the courtroom captivates me: The atmosphere is emotionally charged, and at the same time it involves technical details that only specialists can grasp. Imaginations and interpretations emerge in the reconstruction of Greta’s birth. Social issues are also dealt with.
I have been a midwife myself and I have attended many births. Now I am an editor of a midwifery magazine. Spontaneously I documented the process, at some point I also started filming.
Funded by the nordmedia Film- und Mediengesellschaft
Supported by the Filmbüro Bremen and the
Bremen documentary grant award 2014
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