The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - ANNE JOSEPH The New Man Song of Songs) New Man, The In­fi­del, The

T(15) here may be a home movie quality about Josh Ap­pig­nanesi’s (

film, but the is­sues he ex­am­ines are pro­found. Writ­ten and di­rected with his wife, Devo­rah Baum — an aca­demic — Ap­pig­nanesi’s premise was to turn the cam­era on him­self to ex­plore his feel­ings about his im­pend­ing first-time fa­ther­hood in his late thir­ties. Af­ter a se­ries of failed fer­til­ity treat­ments, the preg­nancy is ob­vi­ously joy-fu­elled mixed with in­evitable ap­pre­hen­sion, par­tic­u­larly on the part of Ap­pig­nanesi.

His angst at try­ing to work out his chang­ing sta­tus pro­vides some of the laugh out-loud mo­ments. “I’m preg­nant, we’re all preg­nant,” he tells Devo­rah. He wor­ries that the baby will usurp him — ter­ri­fied that be­ing a fa­ther will change ev­ery­thing about his life. Ap­pig­nanesi is of­ten un­shaven, con­stantly needy and seems to spend too much time mop­ing about in the house.

The then-out-of work film-maker cap­tures con­ver­sa­tions with friends, ac­quain­tances and fam­ily. The cam­era ac­com­pa­nies him ev­ery­where — on the bus, dinner par­ties and walks with his wife. He vis­its his par­ents, who sep­a­rated when he was a young boy, and their dis­cus­sions about Ap­pig­nanesi’s own fa­ther­ing are af­fect­ing and funny.

The film is in­ti­mate, hon­est and in­tro­spec­tive. It re­veals the ev­ery­day stresses and strains on the cou­ple — her work over­load, his lack of it. But the project takes a dra­matic shift as com­pli­ca­tions sur­round the preg­nancy and ex­cite­ment is re­placed by acute, pal­pa­ble anx­i­ety.

Baum now takes more of a cen­tral role and de­spite the un­bear­able cir­cum­stances, does so with poise and strength. At times, it feels al­most too voyeuris­tic to watch.

Hav­ing cho­sen to share this par­tic­u­lar pe­riod of their lives, Ap­pig­nanesi and Baum have cre­ated a valu­able per­sonal mem­oir, but not just for them­selves. Their brav­ery and can­did­ness is to be ap­plauded. Pro­found emo­tions on the dif­fi­cult path to par­ent­hood

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