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A Walk To Beautiful - NOVA
A Walk To Beautiful - NOVA
Actor: A Walk To Beautiful - NOVA
Director: Mary Olive Smith;Amy Bucher
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
NR     2008     0hr 56min

A difficult journey that begins in loneliness and shame for thousands of Ethiopian women ends in a productive new life and hope for the future in this award-winning film. Shot against a starkly beautiful landscape, A Walk ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: A Walk To Beautiful - NOVA
Director: Mary Olive Smith;Amy Bucher
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Health, Television, Politics, Science & Technology
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/12/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 0hr 56min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Humbling, sublime, and beautiful
Dr. Jack Fong | California, USA | 05/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I came across this documentary on PBS I was left quite breathless. The context of the documentary, the visual imagery, and the "texture" of the survival mode these women are in truly will inspire you to appreciate some of the simple pleasures we take for granted in life. Moreover, the staff at the Fistula Hospital were wonderful, committed, and compassionate. Mind you, I'm an American writing about this from our world, one with HMOs rushing patients through the system, where the medical establishment continues to slowly capitulate to the private interests of profit, where we have no nationalized health care.

Existentially, A Walk to Beautiful also shows how medical institutions runned by compassion-based medics create new meanings for those whose lives have been completely scripted for them by patriarchy and ageless traditions that cannot keep up with the realities and stimuli of twenty-first century poverty and destitution.

My favorite scenes? When Ayehu was cured and she walks through the forest to go home. The human spirit shone nicely through her posture, determination and grit. When I showed this documentary to my class my students (I'm a male professor), female and yes, male students, were left breathless. Almaz lecturing her husband after the surgery was wonderful, as was Wubete's new found joy with the children of Grace Village, especially her comments on Iyassu, "who pouts".

Many of my students wrote me afterward saying how this documentary changed their lives. I also wanted to add that the music in the film sounded authentically from the region (with the exception of the syncopated "Amazing Grace" at the end of the documentary). There were some hymns and melodies that were highly appropriate since they come from the beautiful voice of Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw, a world-renown Ethiopian artist. Watch this documentary. Smith and Bucher, along with their team, captured a depth of humanity in a context that was refreshing, deep, and profound. A Walk to Beautiful will alter your consciousness forever..."
A heartwrenching film, every woman/mother should see
K. Pinder | 05/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this film originally on T.V. May 13 on Nova. The stories of the affected women made me cry. What a horrible existence they had been left to, until they were able to get to the special hospital. I also cried for them tears of joy when they were "cured" of their injuries. This was a heartwrenching film, one every woman/mother should see. We are so lucky to live where we do and have access to such great health care. I would like to purchase this DVD when it is released because I would like many of my friends and family to see it and help with donations to this cause."
For these women, a new world of hope is dawning
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 09/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a tough review for me to write. After watching this, I am so moved that I'm not sure what to write in this review. This film is an incredibly powerful, emotional experience and it educated me about a serious health issue I never knew existed. I can't begin to express just how badly I felt for women afflicted with obstetric fistula, a type of childbirth injury that, according to the people interviewed in this film, occurs most often in poor, rural areas of developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Arab world. I watched with anticipation and genuine anxiety the trials of five women in this documentary; they all had to endure obstetric fistula for years and they became outcasts in their communities because the members of their communities were disgusted by the smells and the symptoms of fistula. Women with fistula are unable their urges to go to the bathroom. To make matters worse for these women, they honestly didn't realize there were other women like them and they thought there was nowhere to go for treatment. They often heard of a hospital merely by luck when word-of-mouth reached them in their area hundreds of miles away from the only hospital helping women with fistula. This documentary, however, highlights the very real possibility of a woman's being cured of fistula using surgical methods to correct the problem; and to see the joyful expressions on their faces and the lovely clothes they were given when they were leaving the hospital to start their new lives after they were cured was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

This documentary focuses on five Ethiopian women who have traveled from remote, rural areas to the capital city of Addis Ababa where they find relief, kindness and surgeons ready to assist them and correct the problem that has caused their lives to be a living hell for years. These women, like others in certain parts of the world, have spent the last several years of their lives being treated as lepers in their own communities because people were repulsed by the way these women smelled; they could not control their urges to go to the bathroom.

I don't want to spoil it all for you; but I will tell you one story out of the five the documentary focuses on. One young woman, Wubete, has to travel three times to the hospital from her rural village because her bladder was so severely damaged during childbirth that she is left with an unusually small bladder. In Wubete's case, physical exercises to achieve bladder control were not working well. She is so happy when she is finally able to control her bathroom urges that she wishes to stay at the hospital perhaps as an employee; the hospital doesn't hire her but they do find her a job working at an orphanage and Wubete looks happier than ever. It practically made me cry tears of joy. The other four stories are equally poignant and quite memorable; and the staff was the kindest you could ever imagine.

The DVD comes with an extra about the extent of obstetric fistula; it is brief but very well done and informative. There are a few other extras but this is the most valuable one.

Overall, A Walk to Beautiful is an important documentary that practically everyone should see once they are able to handle the mature subject matter involved here. Before I saw this movie I had never even heard of fistula. I learned an awful lot from watching this film; and I highly recommend this DVD."
Valuing life
Linda C. Morse | Millis, MA USA | 03/19/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A Walk to Beautiful exposes the hardships, persecutions and suffering faced by women in nations where there is no access to experienced birth attendants. Fistulas occur when the birth is extremely difficult, the baby generally dies and the mother's birth canal goes through significant damage that results in leaking of bladder and/or fecal matter through the vaginal canal. People in the young women's communities literally throw these women to the wolves or allow them to live on the outer edges of the community in isolation. When women do hear about the option of having a fistula repaired, they travel for days to get to these amazing hospitals in order to be cured. Fistulas are also the result of girls who are barely women giving birth when their bodies are not mature. Imagine having your life "over" by 14. We can all support fistula hospitals such as HEAL Africa and give these women back their lives. Please watch this powerful video."