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The Baby of Macon 1993 ***

 

The painterly eye of Peter Greenaway created many memorable images in service of elusive, original narratives; The Baby of Macon is one of his most striking achievements. The Italian city of Macon circa 1600 is shocked when a woman (Julia Ormond) claims to have conceived a virgin birth, and she and the child come to the attention of a greedy church in the form of a bishop (Phillip Stone), with Ralph Fiennes as the son. The result that the town’s prosperity turns to despair, and a heavy revenge is taken on Ormond’s character. The Baby of Macon is presented more like a masque or a tableau than a film, but the elaborate staging and costumes are profoundly cinematic, as it Greenaway’s treatment, with a climactic eight minute tracking shot through the various strata of the society on trial

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