Hot Docs 2017 Review: “A Bastard Child” (2017) ★★★★
Back then, in the beginning of the 19th or even the 18th century, women, especially unmarried ones had to face all possible social discrimination if she happened to give birth to a child. No one would bother asking where that man was or the circumstances that let to that pregnancy, nobody. Knutte Wester’s impressive and highly crafty A Bastard Child is a moving story of an artist grandmother, who after all these struggles and facing the conservative society of the time becomes a pioneer of a women’s rights.
How many stories our grannies would tell us? How many of them were just an imagination and some of them the painful truth? Knutte Wester, inspired by her vivid and deep reflections of social injustice, translates her story into a vivid painting, enabling the viewer to watch extraordinary images through which a window to history will be opened.
Over a cup of coffee or a tea, Knutte’s grandmother, Hervor Wester, would tell a little boy the story of her life, but rather the story of her mother whose eventful but more sad part of her life began with the birth of Hervor. Hervor’s mother was not married but knowing the implications she might face, she still gives birth to a baby girl. Being rejected by the society, even by her parents, the woman with her child will have to move from one orphanage to another. All options were open to ease life, even if that option was drowning themselves in the ice river.
In conclusion, A Bastard Child is an important documentary to watch. Firstly, it’s so interesting and captivating to watch, you won’t even notice how time passes. Secondly, it’s an important story about a woman who through hardship and disappointment found her way up. It’s about learning and never giving up. It’s about a human spirit and a history lesson of who we were back then and who should we never become in the future.