Although the birth itself is dramatized, the Hungarian director shared that the baby featured in the film was the child of a Montreal mother. “We had an amazing Montreal French mother gave the opportunity to shoot with her baby. She was really part of the shot,” the Pieces of a Woman director explained.
Still, not everything you see on screen is real. Mundruczó stated that despite dealing with a tiny actor, the child turning blue wasn’t happening in real-time. The film used CGI to help realize the scene on which the movie’s entire drama hinges. He went on to tell Decider that the decision to feature a real baby was about capturing the emotional resonance between Kirby’s character and her newborn, something he says wouldn’t have happened as well had the child not been living and breathing.
“It was a real baby, and you can watch it on [Kirby’s] face,” Mundruczó stated. “That connection is the whole movie, and it would never happen [with a CGI baby]. It’s impossible.”
Beyond the baby becoming an unnatural blue, viewers may have also noticed that despite seeing just about every other part of Martha’s home birth, once the baby turns blue and Sean runs out into the street to get the paramedics, the camera doesn’t go back inside the home with Sean. Like the decision to work with a real baby, Mundruczó shared that it was important to capture the realities of situations such as this, but that his choice not feature the child’s fate on-screen was about respecting the loss and also the mother’s who overcome it.
“I really didn’t want to go there,” he said. “Not just because of the voyeurism, but also because I would like to tell a story about grace, love, and strength, and not just about loss and tragedy.”