Friday, June 7, 2013

REPULSION (1965)

When I first saw this film 20+ years ago I thought it was one of the best things I'd ever seen.  Watching it again now I still think the same thing.

Young Catherine Deneuve works in a London beauty shop and lives with her older sister in a large apartment.  Outwardly Catherine looks normal (in an extraordinarily beautiful sort of way) but if you look closer you'll see that the elevator isn't going all the way to the top.  She's very distant and walks around as if she's sleepwalking.  For some unknown reason she is both repulsed and obsessed with sex.  At night she covers her head with a pillow so she doesn't have to listen to her sister gettin' busy with her boyfriend, but at the same time she has intense visions/experiences of a molester breaking into her room and ravishing her.

Things take a massive turn for the worse when her sister goes on vacation with her boyfriend and leaves her all alone in the apartment.  Almost instantly her brain starts to melt and her visions go wild...and Satan have mercy on anybody who happens to drop by.

The scenario for REPULSION is great, but what really pushes REPULSION into the Better Films of All Time territory is the acting by Deneuve, the lighting by Gilbert Taylor, music by Chico Hamilton and the leadership of Polanski.  When you watch the extras on the Criterion blu-ray you can see that he has a clear vision of what he wants and the means to make it a reality, although on the audio commentary a lot of the things he now dislikes about the film are some of my favorite parts.

Even all of these years later and so many repeat watchings I still love this movie.  It flows so seamlessly that at times you almost forget that you are watching a film.  Highly recommended.