Sunday, October 16, 2005

"Repulsion" by Roman Polanski

"Repulsion" is a disturbing, creepy, cringe-inducing, yet first-rate psychological thriller. If this 1965 film were made today, it would be categorized as a horror film, and if the project were in the hands of a less talented director, the picture would have more gore but less effectiveness. To many, Catherine Deneuve, the leading lady, is better known as that aging French star who sells wrinkle-reduction cream on TV, but Ms. Deneuve made this picture when she was in her absolute youthful prime at 22. In "Repulsion", at times she resembles Sissy Spacek, at other times she looks remarkably like Mia Farrow with big hair, and in some scenes her nervy demeanor reminds me of Faye Dunaway.

Catherine Deneuve plays a virgin (yeah, imagine that) who is irked by her sexually-active sister's behaviors. The lonely virgin sees and hears weird things in her London apartment. Polanski uses a deliberate ploy to confuse us as to whether she has indeed experienced those bizarre happenings or they are merely "in her head". The trick works, for after having seen this movie twice, I still am not certain what really happens to the poor girl.

The reason why Polanski now calls France home and cannot go anywhere near the U. S. is well known, and if you're into psychoanalysis, this picture can serves as a source for an armchair study of a man who is a gifted filmmaker yet cursed with a dark side.

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