Monday, January 19, 2009

ROSMARY'S BABY (Roman Polanski, 1968, USA) Rosemary births a malignant tumor and is dominated by a Coven who have stolen her body for their own diabolical purpose and planted an inhuman seed, which will only bear poisoned fruit. A soothing child’s lullaby underscores the opening shot across the rooftops of New York City until it settles upon Rosemary and Guy, as they decide to rent an apartment in the archaic Bramford. Director Roman Polanski is careful to feed us the ungodliness in slow bites and not gorge us with cliché: most of the film plays like a failing marriage, as Guy concentrates more on his career than his pregnant wife. In this cold emotional territory Rosemary seems lost, isolated from friends and family by an egocentric husband and creepily adoring neighbors. Soon, she can’t differentiate dream from reality, questioning her own judgment, relying on the “kindness” of intrusive strangers. The drug-induced visual sequences are eerily surreal as Rosemary’s perceptions trip the light fantastic, dancing upon madness and hellishness as she is violently penetrated. This is a film of modern paranoia, reflecting our lovely perfect lives into a dark mirror, not quite what it seems, fearing the monsters that lurk in the abyss of our primal wombs…or next door. Polanski has made an unbelievable premise plausible and therein lays the true horror. A perverse ironic humor dominates the film as the daemon is conceived during the Pope’s visit to New York and its expulsion on the 6th month of the year 1966 Anno Domini. As Rosemary tries to escape her fate, the whole world seems involved in the conspiracy to take her baby, to seek its destruction, to disappear into the fiery maelstrom. When she finally discovers the dreadful truth, her gentle lullaby rocks the crying daemon to sleep, a mother’s nourishment for our world’s new successor. (A)

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