May 28, 2016

Must Watch Before You Die #47: Rosemary's Baby (1968)

I had watched 'Rosemary's Baby' for the first time in 2010. And I had loved it. I was not sure if I would call it a horror film, but its impact was enormous and I wanted to discuss it with everyone around me. Unfortunately, you cannot discuss this movie without spoiling it for others - as it has one of the most devastating closing scenes in film history, almost as powerful as the closing moments of 'Bicycle Thieves' (1948). I also remember doubting my fascination with the film. Without any real reason, I find myself biased toward Polanski and I love almost all of his twelve films that I have watched - including some lesser ones. Was it my Polanski-worship that made me so strongly appreciate this 1968 classic? I wondered. I wanted to give it some time, and re-watch it, and then see what it does to me.

The rewatch happened recently. With the AIB First Draft students, I revisited the film on a big screen - at Matterden. And I could feel it all over again - the masterful direction of Roman Polanski so efficiently retelling the horrifying story on screen, with every decision - of the use of color to lenses to the perfectly eerie background score adding to one singular purpose - creating a timeless textbook of not just horror, but film-making in general. I could feel my body reacting to the film, shivers all over me, and my mind getting sucked into the horrors that I was more aware of this time than the characters on screen or the students of mine around me. When the movie ended - we were stunned - no one said a word. Without any conventional horror device, the film had terrified us, and me, once again.

Do not read about it. Do not watch its trailer. Do yourself a favor and watch this film. There is, however, only one catch - experiencing this movie is a point of no return, with the end so terrifying that you might regret why you watched it. There is no escaping 'Rosemary's Baby'. But it is a must-watch-before-you-die if you are game for it! Go and get scared for life!

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