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Friday, 11 December 2015

Space Oddities : Repulsion (1965)

Roman Polenski`s Repulsion (1965), is a horror which one would say is a horror where the audience has no idea what is happening. Reality and hallucinations mix in this film to depict a quiet salon worker, who has a horrendous fear of men. When her sister leaves town she

slowly begins to go insane, where the walls crack around her, hands grab at her from walls and she hallucinates herself being molested. This all results in murder and the audience is left unknown as to if she gets better from her mental state, nor is it explained why she has such malefic visions.

“This subtlety is characteristic of the structure and realization throughout. Mr. Polanski builds a towering drama with a skilful mesh of incidental stimuli. The dressed carcass of a rabbit on a platter becomes a monstrous symbol as the picture goes along. Small cracks in the walls of the apartment flow into crunching indicators of the heroine's crumbling mind.”- (Crowther, 1965)

When it comes to mental health in this film, one common theory when it comes to why she behaved the way she did was because of a childhood incident. Where it`s believed she was molested by a male adult figure and sparked her fear of men in particular and why she
doesn`t like them anywhere near her. Proof of this is inside the film where they look back at photographs, the main character (as a child) is shown glaring up specifically at a male figure, probably the culprit. 

Around the time this film was set during the sixties, mental health was an ambiguous thing slowly being revealed to the public where medication was not as developed nor did people entirely believe it was as serious as it was. This is shown in the sister’s behaviour where her boyfriend believes something is wrong with her and she should see a doctor, but, her sister immediately takes offence by it and denies it entirely. This may be because of how mental disease thought you weren`t right in the head, how you were seriously sick or not normal. This could be how her sister although caring for (her) cares a lot for her pride and appearance (as seen by near every seen we see her she is applying makeup or going to a social event.) It is not until the end where the consequences catch up we see the sister finally slightly accept that something is wrong and her sister cannot control the behaviour.

“The nightmare she creates for herself is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen in the cinema: the way scenes will end with bizarre hallucinations and jolts; the "assault" scene played out to the amplified ticking clock; the sudden, giant cracks she imagines on switching on a light” – (Bradshaw,2013)

Overall this film is a twist on mental health, where the audience can see the twist of mental health and how it distorts ones point of view on the world. Although dark and the acting wasn’t as convincing as some performances , the message and artistic view of this film is spectacular as the visuals make the audience believe she is seeing these hallucinations and make them seem as if they are real . As a final quote to sum up the beautifully made tragedy in this film, Bosley Crowther quotes “It is also a haunting adumbration of a small but piercing human tragedy, and it is almost a perfect specimen of a very special cinema-sound technique.” (Crowther , 1965)

Bibliography : 

Fig 1 (1965) [Poster] Accessed 11/12/15

Fig 2 (1965) [Screengrab] Accessed 11/12/15

Fig 3 (1965) [Screengrab] Accessed 11/12/15

(Crowther , B 1965) Repulsion (1965)

(Bradshaw , P 2013) Repulsion - Review

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