Repulsion (Classic Film Pick)
As his second feature film (after "Knife in the Water"), Roman Polanski's1965 psychological thriller uncoils like a primordial poisonous snake disguised by unfathomable beauty that conceals its deadly feminine bite. Catherine Deneuve was not yet a star when Polanski cast her in the role of Carol Ledoux, a lovely but emotionally disturbed 18-year-old Belgian girl living in London with her sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux) while working as a beautician. When Helen goes away on vacation with her adulterous boyyfriend, the virginal Carol becomes a shut-in after murdering her suitor and lapses into a homicidal madness that takes the life of another who misjudges Carol's grip on sanity. Co-written by Polanski and Gerard Brach, "Repulsion" follows an escalating dove-tailing story form that Polanski explored in his later "apartment" films "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Tenant." Several surreal nightmare sequences disclose Carol's troubled subconscious mind in suggestive and shocking ways. Its visually striking black-and-white atmosphere is accented with an intensely modulated jazz score by Chico Hamilton, as orchestrated by Gabor Szabo, and articulated with canny camera work to further reveal the warped psychological state of its anti-heroine. A study in a descent into insanity, "Repulsion" is a horror film steeped in a palpable dread of sexual repression that takes hold and never lets go.
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