A Midwife's Tale

1997, 16mm, Color, 88 min.

Director: Richard P. Rogers
Producer: Laurie Kahn-Leavitt
Cinematographers: Peter Stein, Steven Poster
Editors: William A. Anderson, Susan Korda
Screenwriter: Laurie Kahn-Leavitt
Music: Todd Boekelheide
Principal Cast: Kaiulani Lee, Laurel Ulrich, Ron Tough

Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning book, A Midwife's Tale follows author and historian Laurel Ulrich as she deciphers the massive but cryptic diary of an eighteenth century midwife named Martha Ballard. Mixing documentary commentary by Ulrich with dramatizations of Ballard's life in Halliwell, Maine, during the American revolution, director Richard P. Rogers creates a unique and quite moving parallel portrait of two women living two hundred years apart. As Ulrich attempts to reconstruct the diary fragments Ballard left behind, Ballard (played by the actress Kaiulani Lee) struggles to find order in a world of turmoil and dizzying social change. Glimpses into her life gradually evolve into a full-blown drama: We come to know Martha Ballard as the primary healer in her community, coping with births and deaths, epidemics, the judge who has raped the minister's wife, and her own unruly son.