Thursday, 11 December 2014

Film Review: Repulsion (1965)

Figure 1: Movie Poster

This is a very strange a chilling horror film, it was the first instalment of Roman Polanski's "Apartment Trilogy". The story follows a young women called "Carol" (Christine Deneuve) who is a very troubled women living with her sister in a small apartment in London. Carol is an extremely shy and very beautiful women who attracts much attention on a daily basis when the attention is very much unwanted. Her anxieties begin to get much worse when her sister and her new boyfriend decide to go on a vacation and Carol (Christine Deneuve) is left to look after the house.

Figure 2: Still shot showing Carol with all her unwanted attention

Throughout the film the viewer is constantly feeling uncomfortable from the way the director has allot of close intimate shots of carol or first person views on the camera making you feel as if you are in the mind of Carol. Once her Sister has left on vacation with her boyfriend the apartment acts as representation of Carol as the more she looses her mind the more cracks start to appear on the walls. The most disturbing part of the film is that as Carol starts to go mad in anxiety of male attention she has life like dreams of her self being raped this is extremely disturbing to watch but the even more disturbing part is the fact that these dreams are so frequent that she prepares her self for the raping in the last dream of the film. This Horror flick is very strange in the sense that your not left with fear and terror but more sympathy for the character. Another view similar to this is of Kim Newman in her review in Empire "Rather than making a mad person scary, this film terrifies by giving an audience a sense of what it's like to lose sanity" (K, Newman Empire).

Figure3: Carol looking at a crack emerge from bellow her.

For  a film that is set during the "swinging sixties" Carol is very unlike other women who are starting to experiment with their bodies in a sexual way most likely due to the recent release of contraception, Carol is most definitely the complete opposite who is developing a phobia the more male attention she gets. During the film there is one man who is nice with good intentions throughout the film but is only making the matter worse for Carol's fears as the more attention she gives the she begins to resent him. Near the end of the film we are given a sense of feeling that Carol has been abused or maybe neglected during her early life by some one who was close and male to her. This is backed up by the evidence shown at the end of the film were an old family photo is shown and Carol is in the background not part of the happy family scene being portrayed by the other family members. This view has also been told by reviewer Jennie Kermode by saying "Her unbalanced state seems to reflect an unbalanced world whose expectations of her are themselves far from realistic" (J Kermode, Eye for film, 2010). 

Figure 4: Carol imagining male hands coming through the hallway trying to touch her

There are many reasons in what makes this film so great and incredibly renown but the main reason is the production design from how the apartment works as an interaction to the viewer and as a tool to judge the state of mind Carol is in. Repulsion is also one of the only few films that has the achievement of reaching 100% on rotten tomatoes, Peter Bradshaw for the Guardian described the film as "a deeply disturbing, horribly convincing psychological thriller that is also that rarest of things: a scary movie in which a woman is permitted to do the killing." (P Bradshaw, Guardian 2013).

Illustration List

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K Newman (Empire):

J Kermode (Eye for Film):

P Bradshaw (the guardian 2013):

1 comment:

  1. Hi Adam,

    You have touched on some of the more interesting aspects of the film here - well done :)

    Don't forget that you need to italicise all your quotes, as well as the film names. You also have a bit of variation going on here with differing font sizes.... make sure you check it through before posting, to iron out any of these little glitches.