Can a human being experience greater pain than losing a child, how can a couple cope with this dramatic event, and can the death of a child be overcome? Pieces of a Woman, a film directed by Hungarian director Kornéi Mandruczó, available on Netflix, reflects on these questions. Martha and Sean have decided that the birth of their first daughter will take place in their own home with the help of a midwife. But this dream moment, so wonderful on the surface, is cut short by the tragic death of the little girl after a complicated birth
Review > Pieces of a Woman
Pieces of a Woman is precisely that, fragments, pieces, parts, fractions. So crude. The thousand pieces into which a woman is broken after the death of a child. It could be said that Pieces of a Woman is the story of life after death. The story of the journey that a mother has to undertake to try to cope with this event and overcome it or, at least, to get back on her feet and walk again.
It is the story of a woman who will have to learn to live with her great loss and with the grief in which the protagonist isolates herself from the world. The film does not neglect the father, nor his pain, nor the way in which he tries to alleviate it by seeking refuge, in this case, in Martha’s family who, on their own initiative, have decided to take legal action against the midwife who attended the birth
As Martha tries to put herself and her life back together, she will have to listen to all kinds of advice, comments and warnings from friends and family, who all seem to have something to say. She will also have to recover from childbirth, with all that it entails both physically and emotionally, and face the new reality with her partner
Pieces of a Woman – Home Birth
Pieces of a Woman also deals with a very topical subject, home birth. Many couples nowadays prefer not to go to hospital as they believe that home birth will be more intimate, natural and respected. But what happens when complications arise, and is there always time to save mother and baby? The protagonists have decided to have their daughter at home but when the birth is complicated and they lose her, they blame the midwife as they consider that the baby has died due to negligence.
Pieces of a Woman is not a film suitable for all stomachs. It is stark, heartbreaking, raw and devastating. Just as raw as the reality of the protagonist and that of many women who have experienced a similar loss. The birth is shot in a poignant, heart-stopping 20+ minute sequence shot. Martha and Sean are brought to life by the excellent Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf. The film was presented at the last Venice Film Festival, where the leading lady won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress. The film is also executive produced by Martin Scorsese
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