Karyn Kusama Discusses ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ As Meaningful Feminist Cinema

Kusama
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Karyn Kusama, an American independent film director best known for Jennifer’s Body, Aeon Flux, Destroyer, and Girlfight, recently spoke with reporters at The Guardian in a reflection and analysis on at least one horrific scene in film. According to Kusama, the 1968 Roman Polanski horror movie, Rosemary’s Baby, is a “a domestic abuse parable, and what it means to be partnered with men who want power at a woman’s expense.” The film stars Mia Farrow as Rosemary.

The scene which Kusama chose to discuss in depth, one which she describes as “such a betrayal,” shows Rosemary seeking a doctor’s help only to be turned over to the very people she’s attempting to escape. Kusama is known to depict similar situations in her own creations. Her most recent films take a look at just who exactly the audience can trust. As the director points out, during Rosemary’s Baby, the audience is well aware, just as Mia Farrow’s character is, that something nefarious is happening. A discussion of Farrow’s acting during the scene also came up during the interview.

“After believing she had found someone — a man in a position of power — that she could trust, she finds that she’s been delivered back to her captors. Farrow plays [the part] with such a fragility that it’s easy to feel like somehow she’s part of the problem.”

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As many fans of the film are aware, the director, Roman Polanski, has been a fugitive from the U.S. criminal justice system. Polanski has been a fugitive — mainly in France — since having fled the country while awaiting sentencing in his sexual abuse case. He did plead guilty to the statutory rape of then-13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977. Kusama discussed Polanski’s crime and what it means for Rosemary’s Baby, reports Indie Wire.

“One thing to add here is that Roman Polanski has made one of the great feminist parables of cinema — and yet we have to struggle with Polanski the man and the mistakes he has made, the crimes he has committed.

“But that to me is the enduring possibility of art, that it can stand apart from its maker, and I believe we have to judge ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ on its own merit.”

Vanity Fair discusses how fans and Paramount have decided to separate the art from the artist. In fact, Polanski’s name has been completely removed from the new trailer, released in honor of the film’s 50th anniversary.