The Baby of Mācon

The Baby of Mācon (1993)

The Baby of Mācon

Ralph Fiennes and Julia Ormand star in this controversial film set in 1650. It is a masque performed on a stage to an audience, and also to us. A grotesque woman gives birth to a beautiful child, and the event is deemed a miracle. The mystical child is then exploited by his guardian (Ormond) and the church. The guardian seduces a Bishop's son (Fiennes) and the child orders a cow to kill him with its horns. The Bishop (Philip Stone of A Clockwork Orange & The Shining) then suggests a severe punishment. The scene near the end contains an astonishing and memorable lengthy scene of her being raped by over 206 men (although it is hidden from view, but we hear her screams). There is then a scene of the child being dismembered. The cast come on stage and bow to the audience, and the audience turn around and bow to us.


"An agnostic's vision of the Nativity, The Baby of Mācon is an elaborate desecration of Catholic iconography, and a merciless assault on superstition and religion. Greenaway breaks down the barriers between the play and the outside world, the actors and their audience, so that the performance itself becomes just another corrupt religious ritual. The film is repetitive, cold and misanthropic; everyone here is a fraud, a cynic or a simpleton; even the baby proves malign." - Tom Charity, Time Out



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