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United Kingdom 1993
Directed by
Peter Greenaway
117 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

The Baby Of Macon

Re-combining from his previous film, Prospero's Books (1991), the talents of cinematographer Sacha Vierny and production designers Ben Van Os and Jan Roelfs (regular composer Michael Nyman is no longer part of the director’s core team), The Baby Of Mâcon is, yet again, a visually stunning film but even for those audiences case hardened to Greenaway’s creepy preoccupations, it is a particularly repugnant one. Add to the usual devices of murder, disembowelment and disfigurement, gang rape (Julia Ormond’s pseudo-Mary is condemned by a council of elders to be raped 113 times for pretending to have given birth as a virgin) and you’ve got to ask, yet again, “Why?”.

This time Greenaway stages the story as a play performed before a live audience of 17th century noblemen and women but for all its visual splendour, it might as well be a peepshow. Recalling Fellini’s Satyricon (1969)and Pasolini’s Salô (1976) for their aestheticization of degradation, The Baby Of Mâcon, is a film few will willingly watch..




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