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“Amor Fati”- a documentary

Brian Karp

(Director, DOP, Editor) 2017


Personal portrait of my cousins coping with a late termination of pregnancy and the involved decision making processes along with my aunts personal account of her life with her son who is living with severe disabilities.

This film was created as part of my visual anthropology master's thesis to accompany a written ethnographic and literature review on the influence of biomedicine on experiences and expectations around childbirth. I explored the use of coping mechanisms and mourning rituals in the context of perinatal grief following a late termination of pregnancy. The findings from this provided the context and theoretical foundation for the realization of the film. The result was a portrait of my cousin who struggled with the consequences of a late-term abortion after Down syndrome diagnosis with a severe heart defect. Prenatal screenings contradict the diagnostic-free ultrasound and predict Down syndrome again for her new pregnancy, although such a recurrence risk is less than 1%. Where to look for an answer when the statistics are against your own life? This is juxtaposed with my aunt's personal account of living with a child with severe disabilities for over 35 years and her complex emotions and constant search for answers. The film served primarily as a means to go beyond the written narrative in search of answers when science no longer has any.

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