Something as Extraordinary as Birth Itself: Kornél Mundruczó and Kata Wéber on Pieces of a Woman | Interviews

Something as Extraordinary as Birth Itself: Kornél Mundruczó and Kata Wéber on Pieces of a Woman | Interviews

What I told the actors was that we need all of the chapters, what is inside the birth, the highs and lows through all of the stages. We talked through it with Vanessa and Shia very carefully, especially with Vanessa. I said, “What the audience has to get from the scene is to feel you. Feel you and not understand you, feel you and feel your love to the one who is not here yet, and that’s the major thing. So, give me the most physical performance you can and give me the most emotional performance you can.” Because that’s the ultimate choice, to be connected. In any way as a filmmaker, I really believe your emotional intelligence is above your intellectual intelligence. And if you can activate your emotional intelligence, then the movie is landing on a more honest place. I love the films from Ophüls and Fassbender and was inspired by them. And that’s why I needed Vanessa to give an emotional performance. But it really resonated with her as well.

How did Martin Scorsese got involved?

KM: He came through [score composer] Howard Shore. He asked me that, as they worked together quite a few times that I’d be happy if he’s sharing the movie with Martin Scorsese. And I was like, “Of course! Don’t even ask me! I would appreciate it a lot if he’s watching.” 

And a couple of weeks later Marty Scorsese called me and said that the movie is amazing and “How can I help?” And I was like, “Excuse me, who’s talking?” You know, like crazy. And of course, I was beyond happy. And he used this sentence, which was very important to me: “This is more of an experience than a movie.” That’s an amazing compliment to me as far as I really would like to give that kind of experience-like feeling from the movie. The team decided that the best help from Martin would be if he became part of the team, and we are very, very proud that he get that and then he spent his time in post-production with us.

The filmmaking must have been very emotional for both of you. Was it cathartic as well? Did you feel that you made progress emotionally in making it?

KW: Yeah, for us, it was kind of like breaking the silence over something that we couldn’t really talk about. But it was not obvious from the very first moment. So, we as a couple share an experience of a miscarriage, which is very far from what you see in the movie, but at the same time, we also experienced certain kind of isolation within our relationship. So, I think that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t want to write about this topic because I felt it would be a very dark place to go where I didn’t necessarily want to be. But during the writing process, and then really with the shooting, sharing this thing and this topic with others really somehow helped. And that’s also something to understand that once you break the silence over a taboo, you can get new connections, and together with other people you kind of go through a healing process, which you would not necessarily be able to do on your own. So, I think for us that was kind of an experience. I did not realize until the end how helpful it was. 

KM: Absolutely. Especially since we had the Netflix premiere. A crazy amount of letters coming. Unbelievable how much mail or Facebook posts from all over the world. And that’s very surprising and very encouraging in the same time when you feel like, wow, it’s so important for them, but not as a movie, but as an experience. And that’s unbelievable power.

“Pieces of a Woman” is now on Netflix. To read Monica Castillo’s review of the film, click here.


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