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Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Canada

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Birth

Chris Campbell

BirthBirth is a odd, subtle, and haunting film about love and loss directed by Jonathan Glazer. The film is built around an amazing performance by Nicole Kidman as a woman who can't let go of her husband, who died 10 years earlier. Then a 10 year old boy appears and says that he is her husband reincarnated. What is great about the film is that it works very visually and has a wonderful ambiguity throughout. It's been a long time since I've seen a film the exists so much in a visual sense. Spaces and faces often tell the story which is constructed out of absences. We fill in the blanks that exist in the film and nothing is completely clear. The film is also manipulative (which I loved) and it slowly moved me toward one point of view and then switched it around. At times I was reminded of the films of Stanley Kubrick in the strong visual storytelling style and use of zooms. I love seeing a film that has the confidence to not tell me what to think through expository dialogue or other obvious techniques. You have to pay attention and watch as the pieces slowly begin to connect. Birth is a film that sticks with you as you roll the ideas around in your head for days. By shifting a situation that is common or cliché (lost love returns, someone begins an affair, jealousy over old boyfriend, can love ever die?) and adding a twist (lost love is a 10 year old boy) it allows us to see things that we wouldn't normally see. Where do you draw the line? We watch the characters struggle with these strange dilemmas that are disguised and transposed challenges that people face every day.