directed by roman polanski, 1965
Deneuve is simply magnificent in the central role, cryptic in fostering her obsession while remaining palpable in her insanity, slowly but surely staggering into a state of madness that Polanski reinforces surreally through distortions in the rooms of the desolate apartment, phantom limbs thrusting through the cracked walls, grasping her, animating her nightmare. These emotional & physical visualizations, including anxiety inducing aural tactics, are admirable points of the film, though the later scenes grow repetitious, & the carefully manufactured camera set ups and meticulous pace layer on the boredom as the film fares on, slowly outlining the disintegration of Carole’s last traces of lucidity.
Polanski indeed utilizes limited space well to convey Carole’s ever amplifying claustrophobia & paranoia, which climaxes in a scene wherein the walls seem to advance in on her, one cannot help noticing that the space is
limited. At least the space in which to invent. With the last half of the film set entirely in the Ledoux’s apartment, the visual capabilities tend to run dry. I lost count of the number of times the crumbling character’s psychotic solitude is nullified by the ringing telephone, always shown in the same close-up camera angle, always unmistakenly reminding her of the world outside her head. The visual monotony is combined with a storyline that wears down rather than amps up. Although my second viewing didn't turn out entirely fruitless, Repulsion doesn't nearly comply with its curiously high level of adoration.