Hot Docs on the film A Bastard Child
In early 20th century Sweden, an unmarried woman gives birth to a baby girl, a great shame to her family and the conservative mores of the time. Labelled a whore, she is forced to place her “bastard” in various shelters, foster families and orphanages, where little Hervor grows up in dire conditions, unwanted by all and rejected from society. Like a real-life version of a Charles Dickens novel, this is the moving childhood story of artist Knutte Wester’s grandmother, who later became a pioneer of women’s rights. Drawing from her vivid recollections, Wester illustrates this extraordinary memoir with a mix of haunting watercolour paintings and poetic archival footage. A testimony to how powerfully animation can bring tales from the past to life, A Bastard Child is also a striking reminder that society always feels the need to create outcasts as a way of uniting its members.