Resources for Loss

"Pieces of a Woman" by Kornél Mundruczó (2020 film), contributed by Emmy Cho (2023)

Pieces of a Woman is a 2020 film written by Kata Wéber and directed by Kornél Mundruczó. It stars Vanessa Kirby (Martha), who works to understand who she is after a home birth ends with the death of her newborn daughter. The film is undoubtedly about loss, but it is also about how people — those we lose, and those who help us through our losses — shape who we become. Through charged exchanges between Martha and her mother, partner, and siblings, Pieces of a Woman demonstrates that care and support are imperfect and at times harmful arts. Those who love Martha, those who want her to "get better" or "get over it," are well-intentioned but try to expedite and tidy up her importantly prolonged and amorphous process of understanding what happened, and what meaning to make of it. Martha's meaning refuses to use blame and compensation as a means to heal her loss; in fact, she knows that these legal and monetary measures are powerless in the face of her profound grief. Instead, she sources strength from the quiet, ordinary acts that color her day-to-day life, the private contemplations that only Martha is privy to. This film encouraged me to think about what the law can and cannot do for those who lose a child. It also made me question how to show the bereaved that you are here for them without invading their privacy, a privacy that is vital to a grieving process that looks and feels different for each person who undergoes it. As I watched Martha grieve and grow for a little over two hours, I felt humbled and renewed. Martha's grace and commitment to self is what allows her to reclaim her life. 

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