One of the most personal entries to this year’s festival season has seen Romanian director Kornél Mundruczó and his writer partner Kata Wéber tap into their own private lives to Pieces of a woman, in which Vanessa Kirby plays Martha, a first mother whose daughter dies in childbirth. Ellen Burstyn plays the role of Elizabeth, Martha’s mother, who leads the charge of pursuing the midwife present at the birth.
The Netflix film sent shockwaves when it bowed at the Venice Film Festival in August, not least because of the heartbreaking 24-minute single take that captures the film’s central tragedy in real time.
Writer Kata Wéber admits during the Netflix panel at Deadline’s Contenders Film awards season event that the script was very, very difficult to write.
“I was really scared,” she says. “I almost felt like I couldn’t do it. It was like a really dark place – I wasn’t sure it was enough of a story and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. But then I said to Kornél: “I have to go away and try to face this”, so I went to Berlin to write, then I felt that there was a desire to write it. . It almost sounded like therapy to me. I was so scared to go to this dark place, but when I was writing I realized that there was so much more I could talk about. It is not just a matter of loss. It is not just about the tragedy. It is also a question of grace, love and solidarity, and how someone can overcome grief and become a stronger person.
Check back for the panel video.