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REPULSION
1965 - Roman Polanski
United Kingdom
34
Opening Shot

The opening titles are shown over the close-up up an eyeball. After the titles complete the shot zooms out from the eyeball of a woman's face looking ahead with a motionless stare. She is holding the hand of a lady laying down with facial cream covering her face. The lady asks, "Have you fallen asleep?"...

The Film

More so then plot, director Roman Polanski relies on his craftsman filmmaking techniques and the result is a masterpiece. Repulsion is like a nightmare captured on film. Ultimately the film is an examination of paranoia, madness, and identity. It's also a terrifying look at a lost soul. Polanski's artistic ambition and technique is mastered, much like that of his influences. Whether through direct visual references (the opening title sequence for example) or simply through stylistic and thematic inspirations, Repulsion recalls the work of master filmmakers Luis Bunuel and Alfred Hitchcock. The visual atmosphere and mood of the film is a truly haunting and shocking experience that is very absorbing. It also relies on the viewer's imagination, which adds to the disturbing and terrifying, nightmare experience. The gorgeous presence of Catherine Deneuve gives a fascinating performance that perfectly captures the silent, terrified, and paranoid emotions of the film. Repulsion is a scary and absorbing film from a gifted filmmaker. This is Polanski first English-language film, and I believe it is his very best and ultimatly among the very greatest film ever made!

The Filmmaker

Born in Poland Roman Polanski has also made films in France, United Kingdom, and America. He left America in 1978 after a conviction for the rape of a 13-year old girl, and it is this scandal that remains most memorable with American audiences today. Scandal aside, Polanski's work as a filmmaker is remarkable. He is truly an original artist. After making some short films in the 1950s Polanski completed his brilliant debut, Knife in the Water that immediately introduced him as an emerging artist. Polanski then moved to France where he began working on Repulsion in 1966 (which was filmed in the UK). Repulsion is a masterpiece examination of paranoia, madness, and identity. Moody and atmospheric the film would display many of the techniques and style Polanski would incorporate throughout his work (most notably in the unconnecting 'Apartment Trilogy' which also includes Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant). At the core of each of these films is a character in a simple condition that is put into a terrible psychological position because Polanski give these simple situations a threatening nightmare to terrify them. Polanski uses the settings and environments of the characters to contrast the expression of their state of mind. Above all, in any films he makes, Polanski prefers to capture the threat of the terror over the actual terror itself. In 1968 Polanski made his first film in Hollywood and it remains among the most memorable horror films ever made: Rosemary's Baby, which earned Polanski an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay. Polanski left Hollywood after the tragic death of his wife Sharon Tate by the infamous Manson gang in 1969. Polanski would make a couple more films in Europe before returning to Hollywood to make his most acclaimed film, 1974's Chinatown. A modern noir (or neo-noir) Chinatown earned 11 Academy Award nominations and remains among the most praised films in the history of American film. After leaving the country for the scandal in 1978, Polanski adapted Tess in memory of his wife Sharon Tate. After Tess, Polanski's career seemed to be fading until the 2002 release of The Pianist, perhaps the most personal film of his career (as it documents much of his own life during the Holocaust). Polanski earned his first Best Director Academy Award for the film.

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