Jonathan Glazer's film Birth greeted by boos in Venice

LONDON - Ad director Jonathan Glazer's new film 'Birth', which stars Nicole Kidman as a widow convinced her dead husband has been reincarnated, has been both booed and applauded at its debut screening in Venice.

It is Glazer's second feature-length film, following on from the 2000 gangster flick 'Sexy Beast', which starred Ray Winstone and Sir Ben Kingsley.

According to Evening Standard film critic Derek Malcolm, 'Birth' is beautifully shot, but the screening in Venice last night drew some boos and jeers from the audience.

Glazer, who was sanguine about the criticism, said: "You can't aim to please everyone. I would hope I only make films that some people like and some people don't."

In 'Birth', Kidman plays a widow on the verge of remarrying when a 10-year-old boy enters her life, claiming he is her first husband. She is intrigued by the boy, who knows intimate details about her dead husband, which only he could have know, but other family members, including her mother, played by Lauren Bacall, try to get rid of him.

The film has been deemed controversial by some because of a scene where the boy gets into a bath with Kidman. In another scene, she is seen kissing the boy's lips after being convinced that he is her dead husband after all.

Kidman told a press conference at the Venice Film Festival: "I responded to this woman who was in mourning. It wasn't about, 'Oh I want to make a film where I get to kiss a 10-year-old boy'. To me it was I wanted to make a film where you're trying to understand love."

Malcolm praises the film for its lack of false sentiment and the acting of Cameron Bright, who plays the young boy. And, despite the boos it received earlier this week, it is still being tipped as a possible winner at the Venice Film Festival.

Glazer made his name as a director in the advertising world, working on epics for brands such as "Devil's Island" for Stella Artois; Barclays' Samuel L Jackson ads; and the famous "surfer" spot for Guinness, voted the best ad ever in a Channel 4 survey.

'Birth' has its official premiere this evening. It is up against 21 other films and faces competition from Mike Leigh's 'Vera Drake'.

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