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Film Focus: Birth, BBC World, November 2004

One great thing about Nicole Kidman is that sheís always prepared to take a risk. Her latest film, 'Birth', is seen by some as particularly audacious because it includes a scene where Kidman shares a bath with a 10 year-old boy.


'Birth' takes place in the wealthy, cloistered world of the Upper East side in Manhattan. A young widow, Anna, played by Nicole Kidman, is preparing to marry for the second time. Wedding preparations are going full steam ahead until a 10 year-old boy arrives and announces he is the reincarnation of her dead husband. At first Anna is skeptical but it doesnít take long for her to believe.


Nicole Kidman: "Her dead husband was so important to her that 10 years down the road sheís still in love with him, she needs him to return, desperate to have him come back in her life, to the point that when a 10 year-old boy tells her that heís her dead husband reincarnated sheíll believe it."


Her fiancť, played by Danny Huston, is understandably upset. Huston finds the issue of reincarnation intriguing.


Danny Huston: "Itís the grand subject of all time, and that is what happens after death? Itís the great mystery that we carry with us in our lives."


'Birth' comes from the mind of director Jonathan Glazer whose first feature film, 'Sexy Beast', won accolades 4 years ago. While that film was violent and stylish, 'Birth' is quiet, composed, and mysterious. Glazer says itís about love.


Jonathan Glazer: "The idea was to try and construct a story where you really did believe that these two people should be together and were in love with another, from some other place, didnít matter. I think if people get lost in it and believe it, thatís a good thing."


Nicole Kidmanís character shares a bath and a chaste kiss with the young Canadian actor Cameron Bright, and thatís whatís gotten all the press attention. But Nicole Kidman and her co-star say thereís nothing sexual about the film.


Lauren Bacall: "I donít think thereís any reason to feel discomfort with this movie. Itís not what the movie is about. Itís not all about sex."


Nicole Kidman: "There was no chemistry, I was dealing with a child and dealt with him as a child and then you act."


As for whether 'Birth' is actually any good, critics are completely divided. Some find it compelling, spooky and elegant. Others say only the performances of Kidman and her young co-star are worthy of any praise.


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