Article by Asia Lupo

Translation by Fabio Castagno

A little girl dies and is born again. This is the obsessive research of a maternity which makes the creation of life look like an unfulfilled purpose. What does the idea of parenting bodies and ideas mean? Can creation, intended as a prosthesis of ourselves in eternity, be a possible cure for death? The debut feature film Birth/Rebirth by director Laura Moss tries to answer these questions through the story of two totalizing and petrifying gestations.


Body, parenting and creativity are questioned with a critical and uncertain gaze in yet another film influenced by the themes and atmospheres  of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Rose and Celie are the two women we are told about, both embodying a motherly figure in different ways.

“Dignity and maternity do not always get along”.

These are the words Rose has been told by the director of the hospital she works in – words that could be the key of the film.

On the one hand, there’s the pathologist Rose who doesn’t know what it means to separate the person from the profession and vocation. This could be seen from the fact that she doesn’t respond to her first name, being exclusively used to be called by her title, that is Dr. Caspar. A mother who doesn’t know what a child is and a daughter who doesn’t know what a mother is. One body and one mind, a woman with psychotic traits who dedicated her entire life to an experimental research against death. To achieve this, the ethics of life falls into the oblivion of ostentation in front of the aberrant acts she makes. A maternity of the mind that results in a total absence of empathy toward life. On the other hand, there’s Celie, an obstetrician who loves her job and embodies the sensibility of a mother, who due to her job, cannot give her daughter the time it takes. When her little girl dies of fulminant meningitis, Celie will learn about Rose and the search she is conducting: the hope of seeing her daughter alive again will turn into a frustrating obsession going against every value of the protagonist herself.

If at first the two protagonists appear as opposite extremes, the development of the narrative shows how they are actually more similar than they appear: the polarities of the two are reversed and they share a generative selfishness that unites them.

The deliberately cold and objectifying direction highlights the oxymoronic vision of these two gestational forces: Celie’s biological one and Rose’s mentally creative one, both disastrous and ostentatious. A detachment which surrounds the audience in the apathy that comes from the very same obsession on motherhood. The sound is given the task of creating an immersive environment in order for the audience to share the horror shown on the screen: a goal which is not fully achieved, because the sound is instead detached and devoid of tension.

If the direction leaves too much space to a sound that does not make itself as heard as it should, the script of Birth/Rebirth whispers to the ears of the most sensitive viewers.

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