FILM OF THE WEEK: Rosemary’s Baby
Film4, Sunday November 3, 10:50pm
Quiet, quiet, quiet, BOO! More quiet, quiet, quiet, BOO AGAIN! To the harshest critic, that’s pretty much the formula for most modern horror movies summed up in two sentences. While this represents a slightly blinkered view of the genre – as recents works by Guillermo del Toro, Joon-ho Bong and Hideo Nakata attest – it is certainly true that most efforts in the English language now resort purely to simple shock tactics. Scare you they might, but stick around in your head and haunt you when you turn the bedroom light off they certainly do not.
There are absolutely no BOO! moments in Rosemary’s Baby, nor gore and barely a drop of blood. Instead, controversial director Roman Polanski gifts it a cumulative, lurking sense of dread that crescendos into one of the most haunting climaxes in cinematic history. So much so that mothers to be may well wish to refrain from watching until well after they’ve delivered their offspring.
It’s no coincidence that the American Film Institute ranked Rosemary’s Baby ninth in its 100 Years…100 Thrills list, ahead of the likes of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, The Godfather and Star Wars. Mia Farrow is perfectly cast as the waif-like Manhattan housewife uncertain exactly how she became pregnant and wondering why the old couple next door are taking such an interest in helping her conceive. Made in 1968, films like The Exorcist and The Omen would follow very successfully in its wake, but neither quite match Polanski’s film for its horribly human depiction of the demonic.
SET THE RECORDER FOR:
TT3D: Closer To The Edge
ITV One, Friday November 1, 10:35pm
What documentary Senna did for the sport of Formula One, so TT3D: Closer To The Edge does for motorcycling. The only difference being that the former is now almost 100 per cent safe but incredibly dull, while motorcycling’s Isle of Man TT event still claims lives on a regular basis but remains utterly thrilling. The film’s high definition footage of bikes flying like bullets around the island shows exactly why, portraying the riders as almost spiritual beings while never forgetting that one small mistake could be the last they ever make.
A Cock And Bull Story
BBC Two, Saturday November 2, 11:55pm
Tristram Shandy, Laurence Stern’s 18th Century metafictional novel is thought to unfilmable. So instead of trying, director Michael Winterbottom gives us a metafictional movie about attempting to film the unfilmable. If that all sounds a bit confusing, fear not – this film is an absolute hoot, as Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon go head to head in jostling for pole position in its fictional Tristram Shandy adaptation. If you loved BBC Two’s The Trip (also starring Coogan and Brydon and directed by Winterbotton) you’ll love this too.
Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
Film4, Thursday November 7, 12:05am
Ask people to tell you the oldest painting they’ve ever seen, and “the Sistine Chapel” or “the Mona Lisa” are likely to figure fairly regularly. Age-wise though, neither of these works, nor any you’ve ever seen in any museum, can come close to matching the paintings our ancestors decorated the walls of the Chauvet Cave in Southern France with around 32,000 years ago. This documentary presents a unique chance to see them, accompanied by the musings of master filmmaker Werner Herzog on the paintings’ place in history of human achievement. A genuinely awe-inspiring experience.