Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival

Programme (2020)

Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth (2020)

Across the breadth of fiction, the notion of male pregnancy has historically been played for laughs, terror or, most often, a combination of the two. Even if these jokes ultimately make male frailty their butt, suggesting that a milestone of womanhood would be a man’s worst nightmare, they’re still jokes.

Seahorse dares to take seriously a scenario heretofore portrayed as absurd. Back in our nonfictional world, there’s nothing particularly amusing about the heartfelt, draining struggle of trans man Freddy McConnell to conceive and deliver his own infant. Director Jeanie Finlay extends sincere empathy towards someone who won’t let gender get in the way of heeding the basic human impulse to create and nurture new life. That’s how Finlay wants us to see McConnell’s journey to fatherhood – a phenomenon as natural as the reproduction of the seahorse, in which male specimens carry and spawn their own young.

The friction in McConnell’s day-to-day comes from the disparity between his biologically hardwired drive to multiply, and the extraordinary medical measures that must be taken to make that dream real. He has had surgeries above the waist but not below it, enabling him to undergo an intense water-birthing procedure captured with frankness a couple notches short of Window Water Baby Moving. Before that, however, he will need to get off the testosterone treatments that have brought him closer to reconciling his body with his identity.

By the end of the film, McConnell chastises himself for his naivety at the outset of this journey, failing to realize that listening to his internal clock would ultimately lead him to “feel like a fucking alien”.

Charles Bramesco, The Guardian

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Film Title : Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth
Language : englanti
Director : Jeanie Finlay
Year : 2019
Length : 84
Age limit : K7
Format : DCP
Cinematographer : Mark Bushnall, Richad Jepchote, Jeanie Finaly
Editing : Alice Powell
Music : Tara Creme
Producer : Andrea Cornwell
Production Company : Hippocampus Films

Screenings :
Tue 28.1. at 17.00, Kiasma
Thu 30.1. at 20.45, Kinopalatsi 5
Sat 1.2. at 19.15, Maxim 2