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"Breastmilk": Taste the Adventure of a Lifetime 

Wednesday, May 21 2014

Dana Ben-Ari's humane documentary Breastmilk dithers at first, seeming confused and overwhelmed by a simple yet complex topic, but maybe that's the only authentic way to approach it. Most parents of newborns are barely coherent even without cameras in their faces; it asks a lot to further burden them with demands for narrative context. So this becomes documentary as support group: We show up at the appointed time, get a few partial introductions, mingle, try to decide who we'll be judging and who'll be judging us, then listen for a while and possibly relax into empathy, which, along with the hope of a broader understanding, is what we're here for in the first place. Discussion ranges widely, from the fuzzy politics of maternity leave to the finer nuances of lactation porn. One weary mom points out that manufactured infant formula was the great hope and all the rage just a generation ago; now the peer-pressure consensus is that it's practically poison, even to talk about. Made with the imprimatur of executive producers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, who together made the 2008 documentary The Business of Being Born, Ben-Ari's film doesn't deliver a particular critique so much as assemble an intimate cultural snapshot. Sportingly, it has a wise and well-adjusted Ph.D. on hand to suggest that anyone threatened by female ejaculatory potential should alternatively consider "thinking of the penis as breastly, that might be more fun."

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.


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