Birth (image 1)

Screened as part of NZIFF 2005

Birth 2004

Directed by Jonathan Glazer

“The eerie tale is steeped in brooding atmosphere and psychological suspense… Nicole Kidman is better than ever. Brilliant.” — David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor

USA In English
100 minutes 35mm / CinemaScope

Director

Screenplay

Jean-Claude Carrière
,
Milo Addica
,
Jonathan Glazer

Photography

Harris Savides

Editors

Sam Sneade
,
Claus Wehlisch

Music

Alexandre Desplat

With

Nicole Kidman
,
Cameron Bright
,
Danny Huston
,
Lauren Bacall
,
Alison Elliot
,
Arliss Howard
,
Anne Heche
,
Peter Stormare

Festivals

Venice 2004

Elsewhere

Nicole Kidman gives a performance in Birth that ensures her place in the small pantheon of actresses whose faces, in a three-minute close-up, can provide sufficient drama to fill an entire movie. Kidman plays a glamorous young Park Avenue widow who, on the eve of remarrying, is approached by a ten-year-old boy claiming to be the reincarnation of her first husband. Recalling intimate moments of married life, he is eerily persuasive. As the decorum of old-moneyed Manhattan is ruptured by the implacable force of this bizarre amour fou, British director Jonathan Glazer transforms a Twilight Zone scenario into a tantalising blend of the creepy and the surreal. Glazer, who is well known for his striking ads, music videos and the feature Sexy Beast, draws rich, subdued performances from a flawless cast, including Lauren Bacall as Kidman’s dryly unpersuaded mother. He crafts an eerie atmosphere from his wintry New York setting, alluding most effectively to such classic predecessors into this territory as Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby 

“A suave and brooding gothic tale… As much as Mr Desplat’s score or Mr Glazer’s sly pacing, it is Ms Kidman’s face that holds you in a spell of uncertainty… Without Ms Kidman’s brilliantly nuanced performance, Birth might feel arch, chilly and a little sadistic, but she gives herself so completely to the role that the film becomes both spellbinding and heartbreaking, a delicate chamber piece with the large, troubled heart of an opera.” — A.O. Scott, NY Times 

“Birth may leave you frustrated, or mystified, but if you connect with it in any way at all, then I bet you anything you’ll want to see it again straight away.” — Jonathan Romney, The Independent