Monday, 25 November 2013

Repulsion (1965) Film Review Roman Polanski

Repulsion (1965) Film Review Roman Polanski 

Figure 1

Repulsion is a British psychological horror film created in 1965 by Roman Polanski. The plot of the film follows the deterioration into madness of the main character, Carole, mainly revolving around men. There are many theories too the meaning behind the film and why Carole turns to insanity. One of these is the idea that Carole was abused sexually as a child. This would then connect to the fear and revulsion towards men Carole shows throughout the film, for example, the furious brushing of teeth and washing of her face after she kisses a persistent male follower. This almost seems like Carole is trying to "rid herself of some dread disease transmitted by men." (Viola, 2008) As we progress through the film we find ourselves being shown multiple horrific rape scenes by faceless men, this could relate to the flashbacks of child abuse experienced as a child. We also see Carole putting on lipstick and dressing up before we see another scene of abuse, this then suggests that the abuse was so common that she eventually started to prepare herself for the horror that was about to take place.
At the end of the film we also see a family picture showing Carole as a child. The image shows the girl in a way that she is completely separated from the normal world. We can see fear and disturbance in the eyes of the poor young girl. (Figure 2)

Figure 2

Polanski also makes each scene of abuse so much more painful through the use of sound. He uses continuous repetitive sounds to make the scene so uncomfortable and almost awkward, for example, one scene of rape is "played out to the amplified ticking clock" (Bradshaw, 2013). This makes the scene feel so much more endless and leaves the audience wanting the scene to be over. Polanski also uses silence in many scenes, this then creates a sense that the scene seems to be dragging on for a lifetime. The whole film is made to make the audience to feel uncomfortable, its not meant to make you want to watch it over and over again, but to make you want the end to come. This could be to try and put the viewer in the shoes of the abused Carole; constantly wanting the pain to be over.

Figure 3

The main theme of the film is to show Carole's deterioration into insanity and so Polanski achieves this by using the set and environment shown in each scene. We first encounter hints of this when we see cracks appearing in the street and in the apartment. As we progress through the film, these cracks become more and more common as Carole's brain develops into madness, as seen in Figure 4. This can then represent the splits and tears in the sanity and mind of the poor abused french girl. It was also said that "Small cracks in the walls of the apartment flow into crunching indicators of the heroine's crumbling mind" (Crowther, 1965). Towards the end of the film we also see the apartment turning into a nightmare of distortion, perhaps to represent the warped cage that the main characters mind is so horribly trapped in. 

Figure 4


Viola, M (2008) Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965) (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

Bradshaw, P (2013) Repulsion (1965) Repulsion Review, In: The Guardian [online], At: (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

Crowther, B (1965) Repulsion (1965) Repulsion Review, In: The New York Times [online], At: (Accessed on 25/11/2013)


Figure 1, Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski [Film Poster] UK, Compton Films, (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

Figure 2, Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski [Film Still] UK, Compton Films, (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

Figure 3, Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski [Film Still] UK, Compton Films, (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

Figure 2, Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski [Film Still] UK, Compton Films, (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

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