Thursday, 11 December 2014

Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965)

Figure 1. Repulsion poster 

Repulsion is a film about Carol, a women who is clearly not well. The film takes us inside her mind and shows us her repulsion towards men and her sexual anxiety. Kendrick describes this film as “an intensely experiential film, bringing literal physicality to mental and emotional fissures.” (Kendrick, s.d). There aren’t many films like it so it can be indeed called experimental.

Figure 2. Closeup

Set in the Sixties this film is clearly challenging the notion of the sixties being a period in which people were sexually active. Canavese states in his article “Polanski mocks the sunny archetype of the free-spirited girl of the swingin' sixties by proffering a microscopic and intensely scary look at humanity gone wrong” (Canavese, s.d). This could possibly show that many sexual advances at the time were not always wanted, and could also show that those not joining in with society are seen as strange.

This film helps us feel the tension Carol is feeling by putting the camera close to her face so we can see her emotions. There is also symobilism in the film such as the rotten carcass which could symbolise the rotting of her brain.

 Figure 3. Wall of hands

The set is a big part of showing Carol’s anxiety.  Nashawaty mentions this in his review “Left alone for a week, she slowly unravels—haunted by strange noises, hallucinations, and walls of grasping hands pawing at her” (Nashawaty, 2009). As her anxiety gets worse the apartment does too. Cracks begin to show in the walls and the apartment becomes skewed and neverending. Towards the end of the film one of the corridors becomes infested with hands. This clearly shows us Carols fear of intimacy.

Repulsion is a great way of showing how someone with a mental illness may be feeling, it is truly using it’s set to its full effect.

Canavese, P (S.D) (accessed on 10/11/12)
Kendrick, J (S.d) (accessed on 10/11/12)
Nashawaty, C (2009),,20293064,00.html  (accessed on 10/11/12)

Illustration List
Polanski, R (1965) Figure 1. Repulsion poster (accessed on 10/11/12)
Polanski, R (1965) Figure 2. Closeup (accessed on 10/11/12)

Polanski, R (1965) Figure 3. Wall of hands (accessed on 10/11/12)


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