Antonia Bird (1959-)
British director who makes confrontational films that turn over stones to reveal things that some people would rather not know about society today. The only child of ‘an unsuccessful actor’, she admits to being influenced by the work of Martin Scorsese in her decision to start making movies of her own. After cutting her teeth on a rather unconventional TV detective thriller she Safe, which focused on the lives of homeless people. This was followed by her most controversial work, Priest (1994), which looked at the struggles of a young cleric to repress his homosexuality. A trip to Hollywood to make Mad Love (1995) proved largely unrewarding, and Bird was soon back on Britain’s mean streets, working with the country’s newest superstar, Robert Carlyle, on a very violent gangster thriller called Face (1997). Her style is hard-hitting, down-and-dirty, relying on close-up performances and skilful cross cutting for its impact. Ravenous (1999), a horror satire set during the Mexican War was enjoyable in parts but ultimately failed to garner universal appeal.