Posts tagged ‘John Cassavetes’

June 16, 2013

DIY Cannes 2013: Rosemary’s Baby

MiaFarrow11To stave off the depression of not being at Cannes while everyone I follow on Twitter gabs about their new favorite discoveries, I’ve decided to take the opportunity and hold my own film festival. Every night, I’m going to watch a movie I haven’t seen by one of the director’s debuting on the Croisette. Thanks to the power of Netflix, so many foreign movies and older auteur classics are available for Instant Streaming. Who knows what discoveries I might find along the way?

And yes, I know it’s over, but 2 week long trips in the middle of this project set me back very far. I’m going to finish it up anyway BECAUSE I CARE. Or I’m still unemployed.

Movie #17: Rosemary’s Baby

Director: Roman Polanski

His Cannes 2013 Movie: Venus in Fur

Here’s the part where I reveal why my whole little contest is a little unfair. When I designed this shadowing, it was meant as an excuse to watch world cinema. However, when it comes to some of the directorial juggernauts, I still have a couple of movies to track down. When I finally get to Barton Fink for the Coen Bros, it might feel a little unfair to compare a Palme D’Or winner with a random Steven Soderbergh documentary. But this is the price we pay. So I hadn’t seen Rosemary’s Baby and now this American classic is here to trample all of the others.

Rosemary’s Baby manages to be a supernatural horror movie, a cult movie, a domestic drama, and a conspiracy film all at the same time. Upon moving into the most gorgeous NYC apartment that has ever existed, Rosemary, played by the stunning Mia Farrow, and her husband Guy (John Cassavetes acting), decide to have a baby. However, Rosemary can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong with her baby or her creepy neighbors.

I try to keep all of my plot descriptions so denuded of spoilers that it does make it hard to talk about the movie. (I like going into a movie 100% unspoiled – no plot points, thematic ideas, reviews, nothing. This is near impossible to achieve and I’m not at all hurt when something is spoiled, but I don’t want to perpetuate any kind of spoiler on someone else.) So with respect to that, let’s just discuss Rosemary’s Baby as a mood piece.

Polanski is so deliberate with every camera angle and tracking shot, that everything feels purposeful. In a comedy, this feeling can make a movie tired and strained. In a horror movie or a conspiracy film, it is crucial in making sure that every piece of the puzzle connects to the next. Now, every scene of Rosemary reading or talking to her neighbors seems important, fascinating, and just a bit scary. It only takes one long scene in which Rosemary thinks she learns something to set everything into motion. And this film scarcely takes a second to catch it’s breath after.

The two elderly neighbors next door are Roman and Minnie Castevet, deliciously played by Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon. While Ruth Gordon soaked up all of the attention and went on to win an Oscar, Blackmer and Farrow also deserve to get mentioned. Roman Castevet is in every way equal to Minnie in making this couple’s role in the film succeed. His quiet command is a great balance for her daffy officiousness. However, the real star of this movie is Mia Farrow. Good lord does she shine. The heft of the film rests squarely on her tiny shoulders, but she manages to take every punch with an underlying strength drowned in chaos and fear. Her face in this movie will haunt me for years to come.