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BIRTH

About The Production
Even before internationally acclaimed commercial and music video director Jonathan Glazer made his mark in feature films with his debut SEXY BEAST, which earned Ben Kingsley an Academy Award® nomination, the director had the idea for a film which was to become BIRTH.

Glazer discussed his idea for the story, about a young boy who claims to be the reincarnation of a woman's dead husband, with noted producer Jean-Louis Piel, the producer of the Academy Award® winning BURNT BY THE SUN and a keen admirer of Glazer's work.

To develop the story, Piel suggested that Glazer meet with distinguished French writer Jean- Claude Carrière, a long-time collaborator with Luis Buñuel in film and Peter Brook in theater. Carrière had also collaborated with the Dalai Lama on two books, including ‘The Power of Buddhism', and was quite knowledgeable on the subject of reincarnation. He was intrigued by Glazer's unique idea, and the two met in early 2001 to talk about the story. Thus began a dialogue that would continue for some eighteen months, as the two men puzzled out the story and eventually began work on a screenplay.

Says Glazer, "We tried to create a context for the story. It a very exciting period for me and I learned a lot from him.” Glazer traveled frequently to the elder writer's Paris home to work. "I found in Jonathan a very receptive collaborator,” remembers Carrière. "He was extremely eager, getting up early in the morning to work all day long.”

The two developed a narrative in which a ten year-old boy named Sean appears in the life of Anna, a 35 year-old woman who had been widowed ten years earlier. The child claims to be Anna's dead husband, who was also named Sean, and knows details about Anna that only her late husband would know. Having this young stranger enter their lives is very unsettling for Anna, her family, and her fiancé, Joseph, whom she plans to marry soon.

Glazer and Carrière felt the story would best be served by a setting that was free of associations with reincarnation. "We didn't want to write a film about the paranormal. We didn't want to set it in a place where this kind of story was part of the cultural philosophy or religion,” Glazer explains. "We liked the idea of setting it in a metropolis where there's a certain anonymity. We also talked about the idea of a kingdom and the idea of the boy coming into a court. A place where there would be very definite lines between the different worlds the boy and the woman occupied.” New York City, they decided, suited both criteria.

 The decision to set the film in New York – a city that speaks to imaginations around the globe - also fit with Glazer's perception of BIRTH as a fairy tale. BIRTH contains a fairy tale's classic elements: the stranger who upsets the routines of a dignified court, the lovely and isolated princess, an established family threatened by change, a love that seems impossible. New York, with its aura of history and power, could certainly be seen as a kingdom, a place of mystery and secrets. It had well-tended enclaves of wealth and privilege, which stood in marked contrast to the noisier neighborhoods of ordinary families and businesses. And in Central Park, it had a big swath of unpredictable nature that echoed the enchanted forests of so many storybooks. In giving the story the self-containment of a fable, Glazer found that he was able to crystallize its themes of love and belief.

Producers Lizie Gower and Nick Morris, who have worked with Glazer for over a decade at the English production company Academy, came aboard to produce BIRTH with Piel. After establishing itself as England's leading producer of commercials and music videos, Academy had set up a features division not long before. BIRTH became the company's first feature. Given that neither Glazer nor Carrière were New Yorkers, it was agreed that an American wr

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