In Fragments of a Woman, Vanessa kirby (Princess Margaret in ‘The Crown’) has one of the most accomplished scenes of the last year and her Oscar nomination was no surprise because she had just won the Venice Film Festival. We accessed this interview with the actress who gives life to the character created by the playwright Kata Wéber, who was based on testimonies from women who dealt with the loss. “Each one had a different way of moving, and each one explained how isolated they felt,” says the writer.
Did you feel any kind of connection with the character?
The connection I felt was immediate. I was always looking for a project that would completely challenge me, and with this script by Kata Wéber I found what I was looking for. I had been looking for something to scare me and this completely terrified me. It was something that people don’t talk about often, so I felt strongly that this needed to be told. I began to do my own research by spending time with numerous women who had experienced the same kind of tragic loss that Martha suffers in the film. The way they described their experiences, from the immensity of their pain, down to the smallest details, I felt a duty to honor their stories. I couldn’t have made the movie without them; However, the only thing that caught my attention while listening to their stories was that society does not know how to talk about it. I hope the movie instigates conversation and support where there really hasn’t been much.
How did you prepare for the birth scene without experiencing it?
To represent the sequence as realistic as possible, I was allowed to be present during the birth of the child of one of the women I approached during my research. I also made the decision to wear postpartum diapers for all the scenes that took place in the weeks after giving birth, a detail that all women who have given birth are aware of, but rarely discussed.
How did they record it?
I remember that they decided to record the sequence using a Gimbal, everything became less mechanical and more human, the camera was always below the actors, a perspective that could hypothetically resemble the spirit of someone who would move in a different way, the camera us I was continuing on the journey, almost as if it were the spirit of the baby watching us. It was a beautiful creative decision. It was like doing a free-form play, just saying: ok, action; and let the birth happen.
What did it mean to portray Martha’s state of mind?
It was very difficult. He had to get into the mindset of someone who felt that he had failed at the one thing that he is not supposed to fail. I wanted to scream and let out my feelings, and instead I had to tell myself that I shouldn’t go there not at all because she didn’t. It is incredibly difficult to survive that. You feel trapped and so incredibly lonely.
What would you say is the change of this character?
I feel like her arc in the movie is really that she saves it all for the moment she gets to court, it is in the courtroom that she first realizes that she is ready to talk about her experience. Throughout the film she finds parts of herself, pieces that all these different people want from her, and she finds her voice in a way that sometimes only loss and deep trauma can instigate.
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