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Birth with Dr. R.D. Laing

Television (Full Length) – 1977

Framed by the distinctive burr of influential Scottish thinker RD Laing, this 1977 doco questions how the Western medical system handles childbirth: in Laing's view, "one of the disaster areas of our culture." Supported by arresting hospital footage and impassioned interviews with mothers, the film argues that women are often deliberately sidelined during the process of birth, and babies' needs ignored. Screenings in the UK and US saw it contributing to a debate about newborn care; one that remains ongoing. Birth won a Feltex Award for Best Documentary.

A newborn baby isn’t a lump of stuff that hasn’t yet started to feel, or that will perhaps start to feel three of four months after birth ... a newborn baby is a fully-sensured [sic] baby with all its sense channels open.
– RD Laing

Key Cast & Crew

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Sam Pillsbury


Generic Profile image for Jackie Scott

Jackie Scott


Generic Profile image for R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing


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Helen Brew

Interviewer, Producer

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Pat Cox


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Don Reynolds


See all 8 credits

Produced by

Media Insights


Produced with assistance of the National Film Unit. Commissioned by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.


Music created by June Schneider.