Early on in “Earth Mama,” a quietly shattering first feature from writer-director Savanah Leaf, we find ourselves in a room with a Black woman named Gia (Tia Nomore) as she spends time with her young son, Trey (Ca’Ron Coleman). It’s a drab, anonymous-looking room, with bare walls and a few toys scattered perfunctorily about, but Leaf and her cinematographer, Jody Lee Lipes, use the space to tell a story in intimate, heartrending miniature.

The camera, never blinking, slowly pulls back to reveal Gia’s daughter, Shaynah (Alexis Rivas), sitting by herself, clearly too upset to talk to or play with her mom (she was late, there was traffic). And in time, it moves back even farther to reveal another woman standing in the background, alerting us, if we didn’t know already, that this isn’t an unsupervised visit.