The Baby of Mâcon

The Baby of Mâcon is a 1993 film written and directed by Peter Greenaway starring Ralph Fiennes, Julia Ormond and Philip Stone.

The Baby of Mâcon
Theatrical poster
Directed byPeter Greenaway
Produced byKees Kasander
Written byPeter Greenaway
StarringJulia Ormond
Ralph Fiennes
Philip Stone
Jonathan Lacey
Don Henderson
CinematographySacha Vierny
Edited byChris Wyatt
Release date
  • 11 November 1993 (1993-11-11)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


A town cursed with barren women and famine is saved by a miracle birth to an old, ugly woman: the Mother. Immediately afterwards, the old woman's Daughter claims to have delivered the baby herself in a virgin birth. She imprisons the Mother and begins to exploit the Baby by selling blessings to the desperate townspeople of Mâcon.

The Church is both suspicious and jealous. The Bishop's Son, a sceptic, doubts the Daughter. She attempts to convince him that she is indeed a virgin by offering her virginity to him. Before the Bishop's Son is able to consummate with the Daughter, the Baby commands a bull to kill him. The Bishop arrives as his son has been gored, and blame for his son's death falls onto the Daughter.

The Bishop takes custody of the Baby and the Church begins exploiting him, and the town's faith, far more than the Daughter. In response, the Daughter quietly suffocates the Baby. The Bishop sentences her to death, but because she is still a virgin, she cannot be killed outright. The Daughter is instead sentenced to be raped 208 times, followed by a public execution. After the rapes it is discovered that she has died from the trauma. The Church then dismembers the Baby's body and sells his remains as relics to the townspeople. Famine falls once again onto the city of Mâcon.



The film was screened out of competition at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.[1] Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader, however, noted that he "watched it to the end out of a sense of duty, not with pleasure or any hope of edification", while also describing the action as "lushly and rather beautifully filmed (by Sacha Vierny)".[2]


  1. "Festival de Cannes: The Baby of Mâcon". Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  2. Rosenbaum, Jonathan. "The Baby of Macon". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 27 January 2017.

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