Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Rosemary's baby 1968

This is Rosemary's Baby directed by Roman Polanski and there are many twists and turns to keep the audience guessing throughout the film. It begins with the characters Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse moving into a new home which is abandoned and empty, they begin talking about how they are going to make their mark in this space by making in love on the bare empty floor and how they intend to make it homely.  Over the next shot of scenes the space is transformed into a typical American home and once again feels lived in. However there are subtle hints that this is not the happy family home it appears to be because of the neighbours that live close by keep interfering in all the Woodhouse's concerns and although at first this is seen as a friendly gesture, Rosemary eventually finds this as a hindrance on her own free will and how she would rather deal with her pregnancy.

 At the end of the film a hidden room is discovered for the meeting of the coven and the space becomes unfamiliar because it becomes a places of hidden secrets and meanings, destroying the image of the happy home.  "Polanski's greatest strength in this film is his subtlety; his pacing and sense of mood are masterful without calling attention to themselves, letting the horror of the premise sink it's claws in so slowly and quietly that you don't notice how far deep they've gone until it's too late." (Star Plus, 2010), the evidence proclaims how the mood of the film shifts subtly to suggest how the home and characters are familiar to begin with but the atmosphere changes to create the idea of a secret coven and black magic but the audience doesn't piece all the themes together until the end.

Figure 1, Bodsworth Richard, (2010), Rosemary's Baby still

Figure 2, Rosenberg Adam, (2010), Rosemary's Baby still

The theme of feminist sexism is expressed through the film in Rosemary's dreams/ nightmares as they dipict horrific scenes of the characters displaying her nakedness for their rituals and the idea of woman as an object, the theme runs very closely to Barbarella but turns away from the innocent naive approach and embraces the dark possessive side of seduction. When Rosemary regains conciousness, she finds scratch marks running down her back indicating the husband's desires to have her in any condition to please him. The film reveals that the baby is the son of the devil and that Rosemary was selected, it conjures the idea of a strong evil beast seducing a helpless human woman as a form of male erotic fantasy. This theme is what makes the audience realise that Rosemary symbolises an object for sex and to carry the next generation of sin and evil. "Superbly acted (especially by bone-thin Farrow and Ruth Gordon as the ultimate neighbour from hell), it's a satantango in the land of Is-this-real-or-am-I-crazy?, with a luridly literal ending that doesn't negate the previous, more interior terrors." (Park, 2010), the evidence clarifies that the dreams and real world intertwine, which at first causes doubt and suspition on Rosemary's mind and if all the ill treament from the other characters was what she believed but it later becomes clear that they were using her as if she were a weak minded child that wouldn,t understand their aims.

Figure 3, Movie berry, (2009 - 2010), Rosemary's Baby still

There is a division between Rosemary and the other characters because they undermine her actions and thoughts, this becomes clearer as the plot develops and Rosemary becomes obsessed with witchcraft and links the behaviour of the characters within it as a plot to get her baby. Rosemary's obsession with black magic and witchcraft makes her more isolated as the characters begin to question her state of mind and cover their secret by confining her to a room and treat her as if she were crazy. Rosemary also talks to herself of escaping her situation and discover what more of the clues mean to demonstrate more of that passion of the obsession that she cant ignore and acts on these thoughts by trying to run away and eventually finding the hidden lair of the coven. Her obsession is seen as a mental breakdown because she becomes paranoid and unable to trust anybody, however at the end of the film Rosemary seems to float back to the position of mother as she was dreaming of becoming and accepts the hidden evil to keep the child she deparately wants.
 "... there is no violence in the film other than the growing mental torment inflicted on poor Rosemary (by herself?) as she becomes increasingly suspicious of everyone around her... Polanski's most startling accomplishment is ultimately twisting something as natural as maternal instinct into something horrifying, if not downright monstrous." (Dequina, 2006), the evidence indicates that Rosemary's obsessiveness and her drive to be proven right gradually changes the mood of the scenes as the audience begins to understand that the images of her subconcious have appeared in true form as her nightmares have been made real.
Figure 4, Poly Arcos, (2010), Rosemary's Baby still

Figure 1, Bodsworth Richard, (2010), @ , Accessed on: 16th February 2010
Figure 2, Rosenberg Adam, (2010), @, Accessed on: 2nd September 2008
Figure 3, Movie berry,(2009-2010), @, Accessed on: 2009

Figure 4, Poly Arcos, (2010), @, Accessed on: 29th March 2009

Dequina Michael, (2006),  The Movie Report archive, @, Accessed on: 3rd November 2000
Park Ed, (2010), Somebody's watching me, @, Accessed on: 20th August 2002
Starplus, (2010), Rosemary's baby, @, Accessed on: 1999

1 comment:

  1. You've obviously spent time on this review, Adam - nice choice of stills too - there is something very 'tableau vivant' about the Rosemary on the floating bed shot. Just watch your typography - you need to ensure your quotes are in italics - you've also got two different font styles going on - just edit and re-format, (I know - I'm a picky bastard, but I'm just keen that you become as picky as me about your own work and its presentation - it's a professionalism issue, you see).