Polanski's Baby Single channel video | Edited with Bonnie Lane | 13:00 minutes | 2013
‘As far back as I can remember, the line between fantasy and reality has been hopelessly blurred.’ - Roman Polanski
Polanski’s Baby is a video work comprised of some original footage but mostly scenes from Roman Polanski’s films Macbeth (1971), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and the documentary about the director’s own life Polanski:Wanted and Desired (2008).
Polanski’s Baby uses narrative devices employed in the two fictional works to explore the real life tragedies of director Roman Polanski; the brutal murder of his wife Sharon Tate at the hands of the Manson Family in 1969, and his unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 and subsequent trial.
The narrative devices referenced are the Witches in Macbeth who prohesy the destiny of the protagonist, and the protagonist in Rosemary’s Baby using scrabble tiles to decipher anagrams that reveal the satanic identities of her neighbors with whom her husband has made a pact. (Rosemary’s husband makes a deal with the head of a coven exchanging his wife’s first born for his success as an actor.) Polanski’s Baby draws an analogy between this narrative and Roman Polanski’s real life Hollywood break; when Robert Evans, the head of Paramount Pictures signed Polanski to adapt the novel and direct Rosemary’s Baby.
The notoriously violent scenes in Polanski’s Macbeth are often viewed within the context of being the director’s first film after the murder of his wife and unborn child.
‘It’s hard to watch a film directed by Roman Polanski and not react on more than one level to such images as a baby being “untimely ripped from his mother’s womb.” Polanski’s characters all resemble Manson.’ - Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times.
If the violence in Macbeth can be seen through the prism of real life tragedy, Polanski’s Baby poses a reading of Rosemary’s Baby as a prequel to the very public violence, scandal and tragedy later visited upon the life of the director.
Non-fiction characters that feature in the work are:
Roman Polanski – Film director.
Sharon Tate – Actress and wife of Roman Polanski who was pregnant with their first child when she was murdered by the Manson Family.
Robert Evans- Head of Paramount Pictures 1966 – 1974.
Charles Manson- The Manson Family.
Samantha Gailey- Romam Polanski’s underage sexual abuse victim.
Mary Brunner, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, Leslie Van Houten. The Manson Family women (All of them Witches.)