Repulsion (1965)

Poor Catherine Deneuve.

Well, I guess not really Catherine but her character Carol Ledoux in Roman Polanski’s macabre psychological thriller.

I’m not sure what happened to her character when she was young, but it was obviously very, very bad, and without the companionship of her sister, she descends quickly into madness.

Carol and her sister live in the UK, Carol works in a beauty salon, but seems to drift through the world completely unconnected to it. They accuse her of daydreaming, but I think it’s more than that, I think it’s barely hanging onto the real world, and whatever tether she has to it is cut when her sister and her married lover leave town for an Italian holiday.

Carol can’t seem to cope with anything on her own, she walks through the world but isn’t a part of it, repulsed by anything that can connect her to it, especially the concepts of sexuality and men.

Left to her own devices the world literally begins to crack and fall apart around her. The walls crack, food spoils left on piles of books and counters, bath tubs overflow, and her work not only suffers, she’s sent home.

Things go from bad to worse, her nights are filled with the terror of rapes by an imaginary assailant. When her potential beau Collin comes to check on her, he waits til his back is turned and then bludgeons him to death with a candle holder.

To say nothing of what happens to the landlord when he comes to collect the rent!

Polanski’s camerawork is almost invasive, lingering on her figure as men eye her, focusing on her eyes and face as she relives her terrors. Deneuve turns in a fantastic performance, in a totally believable descent into madness.

You empathize with her character even if you don’t know what her past trauma was, though it’s not to hard to draw conclusions.

Not the easiest watch on the list so far…

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. You just made me know a movie from our Catherine Deneuve, thanks ! 🙂

  2. Dave Enkosky says:

    Definitely not an easy watch but one of my favorite Polanski pictures. I think Aronofsky must have been heavily influenced by this movie.

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