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REPULSION Movie Review

deneuve polanski roman rabbit

Above all, there's the rabbit. Movie history is littered with symbols of characters’ madness and gradual descent into insanity, but the dish containing the unrefrigerated, rotting rabbit in Roman Polanski's great thriller Repulsion will have to be given a place of honor at the entrance to the Psycho Killer Hall of Fame. Catherine Deneuve is the manicurist whose unresolved sexual anxieties turn deadly when she spends a fateful few days alone in a London apartment. Though the film features some graphic violence that had audiences jumping out of their seats in 1965, the movie's real power to disturb comes from Polanski's uncanny ability to present Deneuve's deteriorating grip on reality in visual terms. Sexually suggestive images such as sudden cracks in a ceiling and grasping arms protruding from walls are seen from Deneuve's point-of-view, though her vicious killings are not sanitized. All the while that rabbit slowly decays, and it's both a reassuring, darkly comic image for the audience to grab on to as well as an indelible reminder of the face of death, contrasting starkly with the young, pristine beauty of the young Catherine Deneuve. Though they both had previous cinematic successes, Repulsion is the film that propelled the careers of both Polanski and Deneuve into the stratosphere.

NEXT STOPThe Tenant, Rosemary's Baby, Psycho

1965 105m/B GB Catherine Deneuve, Yvonne Furneaux, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Patrick Wymark, James Villiers, Renee Houston, Helen Fraser, Mike Pratt, Valerie Taylor; D: Roman Polanski; W: Roman Polanski, Gerard Brach, David Stone; C: Gilbert Taylor. VHS, LV COL

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