Repulsion – Roman Polanski (1965)

Repulsion is a 1965 British psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski, based on a scenario by Gérard Brach and Roman Polanski. It was Polanski’s first English language film, and was filmed in Britain, as such being his second film made outside Poland. The cast includes Catherine DeneuveIan HendryJohn Fraser and Yvonne Furneaux. Polanski himself makes a cameo as a spoon player among a trio of street buskers.

Roman Polanski followed up his international breakthrough Knife in the Water with this controversial, chilling tale of psychosis. Catherine Deneuve is Carol, a fragile, frigid young beauty cracking up in her London flat when left alone by her vacationing sister. She is soon haunted by specters real and imagined, and her insanity grows to a violent, hysterical pitch. Thanks to its disturbing detail and Polanski’s adeptness at turning claustrophobic space into an emotional minefield, Repulsion is a surreal, mind-bending odyssey into personal horror, and it remains one of cinema’s most shocking psychological thrillers.

Repulsion is the first of Polanski’s “apartment trilogy”. The film is shot in black and white, increasingly adopting the perspective of its protagonist. The dream sequences are particularly intense.

At the 15th Berlin International Film Festival in 1965, Repulsion won both the FIPRESCI Prize and the Silver Berlin Bear-Extraordinary Jury Prize. The film paved the way for Polanski’s entry into the cinemas of Western Europe and drew attention to Catherine Deneuve with her performance.

Repulsion is widely considered a classic of the psychological thriller genre.

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