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One Of This Year’s Very Best Queer Films Drops On Shudder Today

One Of This Year’s Very Best Queer Films Drops On Shudder Today

Marin Ireland as Rose in Birth/Rebirth
Courtesy of IFC Films

PRIDE chats with ‘Birth/Rebirth’ filmmaker Laura Moss about their, bold and boundary-busting film.

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Birth/Rebirth may be the best film you haven’t heard of this year, but that changes today. Directed and co-written by nonbinary filmmaker Laura Moss (alongside their ex Brendan J. O’Brien), Birth/Rebirth is a modern, transgressive, queer retelling of a Frankenstein story. It’s a feminist roar of a film that puts both total body autonomy and maternal anxiety at its center to weave a subversive and unflinching tale that has to be seen to be believed. And frankly just has to be seen.

The film follows Rose (played by the always mesmerizing Marin Ireland), a pathologist working in a hospital morgue who has a very dark and secret obsession. Celie (Judy Reyes) is a queer maternity nurse who crosses paths with Rose after a shocking tragedy brings them unexpectedly together. Soon they find themselves locked in a single — and increasingly horrifying purpose — which pushes them to see just how far they will go to get the one thing that means most to them.

Marin Ireland as Rose  and Judy Reyes as Celie in Birth/Rebirth

Courtesy of IFC Films

If that feels like it’s coming from a deep and dark place, that’s because for Moss it is. “My relationship with the idea of childbirth and having a baby with your body, I think has always fascinated me, but also felt pretty terrifying,” they tell PRIDE. “My writing partner and I wrote this when we were in our mid-30s. I turned 40 in preparation for this movie and so I feel like, in my world, in my life, everyone, and especially people with uteruses around me, were dealing in some way with these issues.”

Some of those stories made their way into the film itself, including some of the crew’s stories. “Our DP had an emergency C-section, and we spoke at length about that procedure and her experience of that procedure, which is the opening scene of our film,” shares Moss.

Laura Moss

Courtesy of IFC Films

Those feelings of maternal ambivalence Moss explores in the film were complicated by their own nonbinary identity. “It was in my early 20s that I started thinking, I don’t want to have a baby with my body that feels really intimidating to me. it just didn’t feel like it was something that I wanted to experience,” they recall. “I think very often I have this kind of complicated relationship with my body — I mean, we all do — but that it’s not sort of quite the right vehicle for my brain... In this film [Rose is] sort of treating their body like a vehicle. A vehicle they take care of, but a vehicle to transport their brain around. I have to say that that’s something that I reckon with all the time.”

It’s that personal touch from Moss and their lived experience that infuses the entire film with an almost atmosphere of queerness. Celie is queer, Rose is ace, and the dynamic they form certainly feels like a life (and death) partnership, which is equal parts touching and horrifying. This was all by design for Moss, who considered making their identities more textual but ultimately decided it pulled from the forward [momentum] of the story. “There’s hints there’s clues and I certainly spoke with Marin and Judy at length about these histories,” says Moss.

Judy Reyes as Celie in Birth/Rebirth

Courtesy of IFC Films

Birth/Rebirth is a fearless film and Moss is a fearless filmmaker for creating it. It’s audacious, horrifying, and utterly captivating. It does Mary Shelley, the original queer horror writer’s legacy of terror born out of maternal fear justice (Frankenstein was inspired by the author’s own miscarriage) by adding a modern spin, and a view of the pains, pleasure, and terror of motherhood from a perspective outside the gender binary.

Birth/Rebirth made its debut at Sundance earlier this year, enjoyed a short theatrical release, and is now making its way to the horror streamer Shudder today. Watch the trailer below.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.