How Roman Polanski Captivated The Viewer In "Rosemary's Baby."

1058 words - 4 pages

Rosemary's Baby (1968) by Roman Polanski is a movie that holds your attention from the beginning to end in a supremely intelligent way. The movie, which basically follows Ira Levin's satanic thriller describes about ten months in the life of a newly married couple, Guy and Rosemary. Polanski keeps his audience interested and alert by creating ambiguity, or confusion, between fantasy and reality. The confusion is created by the partial information that we get, the time and place of the plot, things people say, and by components such as sounds, light, and shadows.The plot can be interpreted in two ways. It is possible that this is a story about a conspiracy planned by a satanic cult together with Guy, the husband. He gets a central role in a play, and becomes a sought after actor, with the help of the cult. In return, he allows them to use his wife to give birth to their newborn leader, the son of Satan. Another way the movie can be interpreted is that this is a story about a vulnerable young woman who is stressed out by her pregnancy, isolation, and superstitions, thus starting to imagine a diabolical plot. The audience is not able to determine which way to understand what is being presented to them until almost the end of the movie. By that, Polanski creates continuous suspense and involvement.The mood of the film and its ambiguity are established from the beginning. The movie starts as the camera gives us an aerial shot of Manhattan. We see big blocks of buildings, in light grey, that place the plot in a modern, urban time and place. But then the camera moves on and downward, approaching a gothic building, in multiple dark brown shades. The ambiguity of the movie starts right here: it is a story about modern people but it might involve something else, from a different, darker time. At the same time the movie gives us other clues for what to expect. The captions are written in baby pink, a woman's voice sings a lull-a-by, but as more and more instruments join, the music becomes deeper and sadder. The camera reveals our protagonists - Guy and Rosemary. They are illuminated, while the gothic building is shaded. Innocent Rosemary continues to be illuminated throughout the movie while other people will appear in different ways.Already at the beginning of the movie, we get some mysterious information that catches our attention, raises our suspicions, and makes us curious to know what it implies. Yet, Polanski keeps things in shadows: for every clue or foreshadowing that he gives us, he also offers a reasonable explanation to the strange event that we are seeing. When Rosemary and Guy look at the apartment for the first time, she sees a note that the previous tenant left before she died. This note says "I can no longer associate myself..." Later on, the real estate agent notices that the deceased, old lady, moved her heavy chest of drawers and blocked her closet. If we start to feel that something is wrong there, then Polanski immediately gives us a...

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