Monday, September 28, 2009

Rosemary's Baby 1968: many a slip before we do get born

Director:Roman Polanski
Hardly have I viewed Rosemary's Baby than Polanski is in the news for the wrong reasons.

The theme music is a clear variant and echo of "whatever will be, will be, ours not the future to see" which goes on "will I be handsome, will I be rich", here expressing the hopes and anxieties of an expectant woman.

 It's more than just a good suspense and horror film, which it is ofcourse, gripping you from A to Z. I put off seeing it for many months, fearing it might be another Halloween, which I wasn't prepared to digest . It was very different and as satisfying as the other two Polanski films I have seen. Most of the horrible things one keeps anticipating till the end--blood, knives, ugly evil creatures-- mercifully do not happen.

The mysteries of life are not in the supernatural but in the incomprehensible phenomenon of getting born, living and dying.

Polanski's film is about the poignant and hazardous journey of pregnancy and childbirth and the feelings of mothers. Witchcraft is as irrelevant as is the existence of ghosts to Hamlet. The bunch of satans only serve to frame the life process, here particularised in the journey of childbirth, surrounded by dangers and the ever imminent possility of  abortion  and death. It is life through the eyes of an elevated mind forged in the crucible of experiences later portrayed in the Pianist.

 Of course there is no such thing as a satanic child, only living or still born. Satan invariably assumes the form of an adult human being. In that sense the film concludes on a victorious note, even if the heralds are a bunch of hooded jokers.
It is about the desperation of a young mother  fighting for the presevation of the life growing inside her. Life, that elemental all defying force in the universe! Bursting out of the dry ground as shrubs, clawing out of rocks as litchens, swelling as skyscrapers out of the ashes of war, inerasable hope which no holocast can drive extinguish.  Nothing  is commonplace. The supernatural is superfluous.

A truly humanistic film. The muse surely guides the  Pole, even as he aims at the box office.

1 comment:

Plum said...

Wow, great review! I have never watched Rosemary's Baby, but I want to now. I like how you said it's a commonplace film even though it has so many elements of the supernatural. Real questions like life and death are always the ones that are the strangest. Everything else we can think of is only a shadow of the biggest, most incomprehensible mystery.

Don't Be a Plum