July 14, 2009

Birth (2004)

I promise I'll return with more "period films" next time!! Sorry for all the recent "modern" stuff. I just need to get this out of my system!

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Birth is a totally underrated film that went unnoticed by the mainstream public and I can understand why. The subject matter is a bit off-putting - a woman who is soon to be re-married encounters a 10-yr. boy claiming he's her dead husband. And there's nothing comedic about the situation. It's intense. It's borderline perverse. And the eerie chemistry between the statuesque Nicole Kidman and young, prepubescent Cameron Bright is appropriately unnerving. But it's a very good character study, well shot and well directed, with haunting images (opening sequence of the jogger in the park was brilliant) and great performances.

I'm not sure why I re-watched this film today. At 5am. I couldn't sleep. I was in "one of those moods." I was feeling very New Yorker all of a sudden and wanted to delve into that world of luxury penthouses and chic, beautiful people, who despite appearances have major issues boiling under their perfect veneers. I want to forget the dead heat of summer and pretend it's snowing outside. I wanted to be cold and spooked.

Let's look inside the main interior set:

Their luxury Upper East Side penthouse was decorated in really diluted, monochromatic beige. It's interesting because I think they achieved the effect perfectly - that despite the immense square footage of their residence, there is a definite atmosphere of claustrophobia, of suffocation, of being caged in, of being dulled down, and suppressed.

Btw, that's the maid answering the door.

And yes, that is indeed Lauren Bacall!

Everything is so "structured." Even the windows are framed with perfectly straight valances.

I rather like these chairs done up in the toile.

I loathe this bamboo wallpaper:

But then I realized the hideous wallpaper had a purpose. Notice the bamboo shoots resemble the bars of a cage. And to have it in the bedroom means a lot.

The dining room is a step outside the beige color scheme. The beautiful green wallpaper reminds me of the "Askew on Green Williamsburg" pattern from de Gournay

A better view of the dining room in its entirety:

A partial view of the glamourous chandelier hanging above:

I am strangely loving these twin lamps with the floral pipes (behind the guy):

Below is the hallway bathroom. The large peonies in the wallpaper reminds me of the "Earlham design" pattern from de Gournay.

The cold marble lobby of the apartment building. Love the doors.

Also, I really liked Nicole Kidman in this movie. I don't always think her acting is great but in this, she really shines. I also absolutely love her haircut. Not many people can pull off that gamine look (Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby being the touchstone, also Winona Ryder does it well too) but Kidman did it flawlessly in this picture.





This is one of my favorite movies. That being said I nearly had a nervous breakdown during the bathtub scene. I thought I was just thinking noo, nooo, noooo but was actually saying it out loud somehow willing the main character to snap out of it! Yikes!!

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