Dedicated to the understanding of the human condition, British director Antonia Bird examines the harrowing pain caused by the neglect of human need. Whether the subject is a homeless teenager or a homosexual clergyman, Bird's emphasis on basic human rights is fundamentally the same. Her resulting cinematic approach is realist, aggressive, and visceral, she confronts each scene directly and unforgivingly, distilling the action to extract its pure emotional essence.
Bird was born in 1959 to a modest middle-class English family. Her father, a struggling actor, named her Antonia while he enjoyed a rare and brief stint as Antonio in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Bird's mother, embracing the fact that her husband's employment would be infrequent, provided the household income. She waitressed, cleaned, and sacrificed to support her family. An only child, Bird compensated for her isolation by cultivating a fertile imagination. By the time she was a teenager, her rich fantasy life doubled over into an insatiable penchant for acting. This desire to be an actress was not well-received by Bird's weary and experienced parents. Thus, at the age of 16, the imaginative little girl ran away to join the theater.