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Répulsion
Roman Polanski Royaume-Uni, 1965
Rosemary’s Baby" and “The Tenant” might have been conceivable alternates for my Roman Polanski slot, but for sheer sustained virtuosity, this Freudian free fall into one woman’s psychosexual madness is awfully hard to beat.
October 31, 2016
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Obviously perfect, in the sense of every shot having been meticulously organised; equally obviously problematic, in the sense that the camera lays siege to a passive, doll-like woman who’s perceived as a freak. Used to bother me slightly, but it all came together on second viewing – esp. the way Polanski gives the heroine her own secret space and the way all the male characters are hopelessly turned on by her passivity, the film acknowledging its own male gaze and finally breaking beyond it.
March 24, 2015
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While this clammy quasi-horror rape-revenge psycho drama amalgam occasionally smacks of a formative work, it’s still a staggering technical and emotional triumph with ambiguities and cryptic insights tightly sewn in to its disgusting base fabric. With its strange, picture postcard final shot, one might even see it as the batty older sister to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining?
December 29, 2012
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Repulsion may be a horror film, one packed with shock cuts that still jar, but it’s also an unlikely plea for empathy with the harassed, whose murderous snap is regrettable but far from inexplicable.
November 01, 2012
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The first film in English for both director Roman Polanski and star Catherine Deneuve, the still-terrifying Repulsion renders language and explanation nearly superfluous… Only his second movie, after the taut love-triangle drama Knife in the Water (1962), Polanski’s gripping study of a ravaged mind hints at, without excessively analyzing, the origins of its beautiful blond heroine’s unraveling.
October 31, 2012
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A peerless Freudian nightmare, frequently revisited (Images, A Woman Under the Influence, Ms. 45) but seldom matched in its desire and terror, its visual-aural flow, and its queasy voyeuristic pleasure in seeing a frosty princess picking at her own skin.
October 29, 2012
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Roman Polanski’s first English language feature is a perfect illustration of a type of horror movie that Polanski does better than anyone — a film in which you cannot be entirely sure if the protagonist is losing her mind or if there truly is something sick/twisted/evil going on.
August 05, 2011
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Deneuve makes one feel the confusion of a corrupted child: She is an arrested adolescent who, like an anorexic, cannot face her womanliness without visions of perverse opulence and violence. Carol is the personification of sexual mystery — she is what lurks beneath the orgasms of pleasure and pain. What Polanski finds intriguing and revolting is perceptively female, making Repulsion a woman’s picture more than women may want to know, or care to face.
September 27, 2009
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The pathos of Carol’s circumstances notwithstanding, Polanski’s mordant wit is fully on display: the atmosphere in the apartment is sketched with a flair for shock and showmanship that would be fully at home in a classic horror movie like The Old Dark House (1932), a useful reminder that Polanski has always embraced, if only to upend, the pleasures of genre filmmaking.
July 28, 2009
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Repulsion refers to a lot of other movies, but its queasy black humor is entirely Polanski. Forty-seven minutes in, he springs one of the all-time great “gotcha!” moments when Carole looks into a mirror and sees a strange man there for a brief flash; even though I knew it was coming, the lulling rhythms leading up to it, the burst of shrieking music and the overall execution of the “gotcha” made me gasp in fear and pleasure.
July 27, 2009
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The film is like a slyly misanthropic theme-park ride for the sane—a satiric, disturbing approximation of insanity by way of a master-class mosaic of aural detail and visual sleights of hand.
April 14, 2008
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…The movie’s shake-and-bake mix of “reality” and crumbling subjectivity is too deliberate to be about character—it is, rather, a game of movieness, a masquerade of Grand Guignol–as-psyche, virtually a parody of the surrealist’s notion of consciousness bagged and tagged on celluloid.
April 04, 2006
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Roman Polanski’s first film in English (1965) is still his scariest and most disturbing—not only for its evocations of sexual panic, but also because his masterful employment of sound puts the audience’s imagination to work in numerous ways.
January 01, 1990
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It’s the scariest if not actually the goriest Grand Guignol since Psycho… Repulsion plays well enough as an unsubtitled talkie, except possibly for Catherine Deneuve’s awkward reading of her lines. Fortunately, most of the latter part of the film depends less on articulated speech than on agonizing sights and sounds and, in a manner of non-Huxleyan speaking, even smells gurgling up from the depths of a repressed psyche.
October 02, 1965
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