Thursday, 9 December 2010

Repulsion 1965

 Repulsion (directed by Roman Polanski) is centered around the character of Carol who is left in the house alone after her sister and married boyfriend take a trip. The house is a typical home when all three characters are living there but when Carol finds herself alone in this space, the atmosphere changes as she slowly becomes insaine. The first thing the audience notices in the empty space is the use of sound of the ticking clock, endlessly clicking which symbolises how time appears to be slower and how irratating this object can be in a quite space because you are unable to escape it. Also the noise of the bell from the church opposite, hearing those loud chimes would also drive a person crazy. "Polanski makes astonishing use of sight and sound to evoke claustrophobic insanity. He also orchestrates some brilliant practical effects, one (involving the set) enabling one of the great "jumps" in horror cinema." (Canavasse, 2009), the evidence implies that Polanski has directed how the space feels smaller and because of the intense quietness the character has to endure the dull metalic sounds that surround people all the time which usually goes unnoticed because of the busy populated areas. The effects symbolise the attention a person would give when they are alone how the mind would cope with all these endless sights and sounds.

Figure 1, 2009, Repulsion still

Men are seen in a bad light in this film as beasts only after women for sex, along the similiar themes of Rosemary's Baby seen as dark and possessive. Carol had an unfortunate experience in her childhood as the evidence of the visions of the man raping her and the photograph of the weak, innocent girl with the two men ignoring suggests she had a terrible childhood of being sexually and physically abused. This conveys the dark twisted theme of insest, which Carol carries with her like a forbidden secret but gives meaning as to why she is afraid of getting close to a man but in the empty space visions of her past come back to haunt her and she can't think of any thing else because Carol still fears her past and does whatever necessary to ensure that she doesn't encounter a similiar situation. The character of Carol can also be compared to Barbaraella as both are young beautiful innocent women that are seen as an object through the eyes of the men trying to seduce them.

The environment changes as Carol evokes more mad dellusions showing the walls and ground cracking when a light is switched on or a piece of furniture is moved. At the end of the film the house interior has completely transformed into a ruin slowly decaying away and objects broken and cluttered. Carol also envisons hands appearing and trying to grope and snatch her, this connects to the idea of Hades Underworld in greek mythology of the lost souls in River Synx trying to pull mortals in to join them and this is the impression in the film that the hands are snatching from reality into her dark past of nightmares. The cracks that appear could be seen as something/ or someone trying to get as Carol envisions the father or brother that abused her to enter her space of thought. Also they demonstrate how Carol's mind is slowly deteriorating and allowing her memories to control and scare her from leaving the house and letting people in. "... the apartment, shabby in the first place, becomes a shambles, a junkyard with leftover food, objects lying on the floor, and so on. Gradually, Carol's physical and social isolation in a confined apartment escalate to the point of no escape, unleashing her built up panic and terror with acts of violence." (Levy, 2008), the evidence explains how the once familiar home has turned against Carol and become a prison and shut off from real life has caused her subconcious to run wild with imagination to create fear and doubt within the character.

Figure 2, 1996 - 2012, Repulsion still

Figure 3, 1996 - 2012, Repulsion still

The neighbours are once again displayed in Polanski's vision, taking them away from the kind familiar image into a group of people leering and interfering with the affairs of the main character. A good example is the landlord because he begins to enter the space and demand the payment he is owned and then takes pity and sees the condition Carol is living in and lingers in the space to offer his opinion on how it is unhelpful to live alone, then there is a beast-like transformation that takes hold and tries to seduce her because she is young and vulnerable, which conjures the destressing memories of her sexual abuse and takes action by killing him. Also at the end of the film the neighbours in other apartments flood in and crowd round in the bedroom to examine the collapsed Carol and find out what happened, their positions seem to look like they are cornering her in a space no longer giving her privacy.

Figure 4, (2007 - 2010), Repulsion still

The film has a slow pace so that the audience can appreciate and really look at the scenes and see what situation mite happen but needs to play out to understand why Carol is about to kill the character with the object in her hand. The idea of killing because of the sexual feelings has also been used in Cat People and the idea of a dark beast taking hold as a pleasurable fantasy but Repulsion shows this through the eyes of a twisted killer showing no emotion as strikes her victims down with a candle stick or shaver. The soundtrack used in the film also helps to keep the pace of the film because the points where the music changes into the most grotesque sounds reminds the audience that Polkaski chose it for a reason as unescapable terrority for the insanity to take hold and be understood in the dire situations of the film. "An oppressive silence is broken only by the buzzing of flies, dripping water, a ticking clock. Rooms change shape, the mere flip of a light switch creates fissures in the walls, a phantom ravisher begins to stalk the tiny flat." (Time Magazine, 2008), this quote reminds the fact of the surreal elements within the space added with the piercing chords in the soundtrack successfully demonstrates the constant shifts and changes in Carol's mind and the once familiar space.

Figure 5, 2007 - 2010, Repulsion still


Figure 1, (2009), Repulsion still, @, Accessed on: 2009

Figure 2, (1996-2012), pHinn web Repulsion still, @, Accessed on: 1996

Figure 3, (1996-2012), pHinn web Repulsion still, @, Accessed on: 1996

Figure 4, (2007-2010), Repulsion still, @, Accessed on: 1999

Figure 5, (2007-2010), Repulsion still, @, Accessed on: 1999

Canavasse Peter, (2009), Groucho reviews Repulsion, @, Accessed on: 28th July 2009

Levy Emanuel, (2008), Emanuel Levy cinema 24/7 Repulsion, @, Accessed on: 25th July 2009

Time magazine, (2008), Cinema: a Maiden Berserk, @,9171,842218,00.html, Accessed on: 19th October 2008

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