director Roman Polanski
When I first saw Repulsion, over 25 years ago, I didn’t know anything about it. I knew Roman Polanski. I knew Chatherine Deneuve. My roommate rented it, might have given the briefest description.
The viewing has stayed with me all this time. While I might have forgotten a few aspects and elements, even a few key plot set-ups, the bleak, brutal spiral of insanity remained vivid.
Twenty-five years later, it’s as vivid as ever. Polanski’s portrayal of a young woman suffering a psychotic break in a London apartment is poetic, terrifying, and still rings relentlessly true. An utter dark night of the soul.
I had forgotten the flashes of a possible would-be attacker, glimpses of repressed abuse or rampant fear of coming attacks. I had forgotten the wall of arms and hands, the rotting rabbit, the sprouting potato.
I hadn’t forgotten the sense of space and claustrophobia, of madness cut free, whatever the cause, and the violence rendered out of sheer horror.
Polanski is/was a master.