A 23-minute birth scene ends in tragedy during “Pieces of a Woman,” a film written by Kata Weber about the pain-filled emotional response and legal fallout that follows a failed home birth.
Weber and director Kornel Mundruczo joined stars Vanessa Kirby and Ellen Burstyn in Variety‘s Virtual TIFF Studio presented by Canada Goose to discuss the concept of motherhood and what it was like to portray the loss of a child. The conversation was moderated by Matt Donnelly, a senior film writer at Variety.
“When you become a mother, that totally changes your life in every way,” Burstyn said. “You’re now defined as a mother, to yourself and to the world, and certainly to your children. My experience in motherhood is that it was the most fun I ever had. It’s absolutely a transformative experience in your life.”
Kirby plays Martha, the woman who loses her baby shortly after birth, and said part of her process before filming included having conversations with real women who lived through similar experiences. To the actress, it felt like an important duty to represent these women’s feelings as closely as possible without having actually gone through the situation herself.
“There was this kind of universal thing that they kept talking about, which was that society found it really hard to know how to deal with their grief, and they found it hard to talk about,” she said. “I felt really proud of our intention to try and give a voice to those women.”
Watch the full conversation above.