Malleus Malleficarum

Australian Workers Film Guide


This short film tells the story of the persecution and murder of midwives and healers during the 15th century on the basis that they were practicing witchcraft. The film opens with a woman holistically waving her arms by a river, and is later observed by a villager suspecting witchcraft. We see scenes of the midwife delivering a child and attending to the ailments of children and villagers with herbs and natural remedies. The midwife is dragged from the river by authorities and burned at the stake. Through text on screen the film states that for hundreds of years women had practiced midwifery and healing, but the mass murder of them paved the way for the rise of the medical establishment and the medicalisation of childbirth.  It is tragic, but well made short film.

Special Notes/Achievements

  • Official selection – NSW Nurses and Midwives Association‘s Nurses & Midwives Short Film Festival (Aust), 2011
  • Equal Winner, Nurses & Midwives Short Film Festival (Aust), 2011

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 5 mins 14 secs

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Film Key Cast: Elaeth Davies – Healer Midwife, Leanne Bacon – 2nd Midwife, Sheree Lyons – Mother, Marty Bacon – Angry Villager,

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