Birth (2004)

A hypnotic, confident tour de force that centers on a beautiful widow (Nicole Kidman), and the little ten-year-old creepazoid (Cameron Bright) who asserts that he is the reincarnation of her dead husband. But the metaphysical suggestions (coscripted by Buñuel’s former screenwriter, Jean-Claude Carrière)  turn out to be merely a device to scrutinize the woman’s gangrenous case of grief, and Jonathan Glazer’s film is crafty, subtle (Kidman’s manner sometimes suggests the presence of prescription tranquilizers, but in a way that calls attention to itself), and, in the end, heartrending. There’s also this, for what it’s worth: several bright critics have noted how Birth features scores of visual echoes of Buñuel’s 1929 surrealist assault Un Chien Andalou, itself a madcap dream parable about lost love. Maybe. With Lauren Bacall.

Cover of "Birth"
Cover of Birth

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