The Baby of Macon (1993)

Posted By: Someonelse
The Baby of Macon (1993)

The Baby of Mâcon (1993)
DVD9 | ISO+MDS | PAL 16:9 | 01:57:16 | 6,89 Gb
Audio: #1 English, #2 Spanish - AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps (each) | Subs: Spanish
Genre: Drama, Art-house

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Julia Ormond, Ralph Fiennes, Philip Stone

The Baby of Macon is a sumptuous-looking but ultimately shallow tale of manipulation, greed, and religious fanaticism set in Peter Greenaway's favorite, the 17th century. In the city of Macon, an ugly woman suddenly bears a beautiful, healthy baby. Her fellow citizens perceive it as a wonder, with rumors circulating that she could not be the real mother of the child. Her 18-year-old virginal daughter (Julia Ormond) tries to use the situation, claiming that the baby is her own and was born as a result of an immaculate conception. The citizens start to worship the baby and the outraged Roman Catholic Church finally intervenes. Aiming at disclosure of the whole Christian mythology, which, according to Greenaway, always served to manipulate people, The Baby of Macon lacks passion or commitment. Even the much publicized violence, including an unseen multiple rape and the onscreen dismemberment of the baby, seems routine and uninspired rather than shocking.

One of eccentric British filmmaker Peter Greenaway's ("A Zed & Two Noughts/"Prospero's Books"/"The Pillow Book") most profound and least seen films (opened only in festivals and at NYC's MoMA in the States), undoubtedly because it's so dreary, religiously controversial and difficult to come to terms with its premise. It's about a church play performed in 1657 for a Northern Italian theater audience, where in attendance is the young aristocrat Prince Cosimo Medici III (Jonathan Lacey). The stage play begins 100 years earlier in the famine-stricken countryside of Macon, France. There an elderly and ugly woman (Diana van Kolck) gives birth to a healthy son. The narrow-minded community, especially all the barren females, want to punish the mother out of jealousy.

The Baby of Macon (1993)

The woman's beautiful grown daughter (Julia Ormond) believes she can save her mom by claiming that the baby is hers, even though she's a virgin. The peasants come to see the baby of Macon (Nils Dorando) and believe the virgin birth to be a miracle, and offer goods to the family in return for his blessings. The Church grows increasing jealous that the child has stolen their Christ message, and the bishop's, educated in the new sciences, modern son (Ralph Fiennes), is skeptical of the "mother," who now calls herself Mary. The virginity of Mary is challenged, and to prove she's pure she goads the bishop's son to make love to her in her barnyard in the presence of the baby. Watching the couple begin to screw, the child uses his supernatural powers to force a cow to gore the bishop's son to death because he was about to violate his virgin mom. In revenge, the irate bishop (Philip Stone) declares Mary an unfit mother and takes the boy away.

The Baby of Macon (1993)

The Church finds it can make a handsome profit by selling the child's bodily fluids to the masses as a fertility drug. A bitter Mary is driven to kill the child, as a means of revenge against this Church misdeed. Mary is then sentenced to death, but argues that according to Church law a virgin cannot be executed. With that, Prince Cosimo leaves the audience to go on stage and suggest a radical solution to the dilemma: the bishop arranges for Mary to be raped by 343 soldiers. To add to the dramatics, Mary becomes aware that some of the actors are jealous she got the lead role instead of them and that they plan to rape her for real onstage. Mary and the actress playing her die from the terrible rape ordeal. The Church thereby declares the dead child a saint, his body is dismembered, and the pieces are given out to the audience as holy souvenirs. The audience does not know of the real deaths just viewed and therefore applauds what it thinks is a perfectly sound moral ending.

The Baby of Macon (1993)

You might not like what you see and hear, but there are things that resonate in Greenaway's pic that are not that easily dismissed. It's a subversive take on the ignorant masses who are too willing to believe in the impossible, the power-hungry Church too willing to do anything to ensure its authority, frauds too willing to capitalize on popular myths and the distant ruling aristocrats too willing to act as oppressors of the downtrodden. The artistic Greenaway is able to aesthically cross the boundaries of the theater and the real world, to present a provocative drama that's well-thought out, visually stunning and brilliantly acted. A misanthropic film, to be sure, that's probably intended for viewers with an appetite for the unusual and sadistic. It's unpleasant to view, but is not without many rewards if you can be open-minded and sit through its anti-religious views of the nativity, its sensationalized dramatizations of rape, all its unappealing cold-hearted characters and its unrelenting charges of Church hypocrisy and religious intolerance.
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
The Baby of Macon (1993)
The Baby of Macon (1993)

Special Features:
- Interview with Peter Greenaway about the film (20 mins)
- Filmography and other trivia
All Credits goes to Original uploader.

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