Repulsion wasn’t just Roman Polanski’s first English language feature, it was also the Polish master’s first great masterpiece. Universally hailed as a cornerstone in the genre of psychological thrillers, and often placed in the same pedestal as Hitchcock’s Psycho, the movie is about the terrifying journey made by a young Belgian manicurist, living in London with her elder sister, from being a shy, introverted person to a criminally-insane psychopath. Hauntingly shot in moody black-and-whites, the movie is a brooding, disturbing and a brilliantly executed study of emotional alienation and psychological disintegration, and an eerie look at the delicate link between sexual repression and raging lunacy. The movie alternates between jazzy exteriors and claustrophobic interiors, interspersed with disconcerting surreal imagery on one hand, and shocking, albeit sparingly used, violence on the other. Catherine Deneuve (only 22 at the time!) brought to screen the frigid and emotionally distant protagonist with a seemingly pleasant demeanor, with astounding power, and her nubile, delicate beauty made the emotional impact of her portrayal that much more devastating. Though the movie might appear fatalistic, harrowing and even misanthropic to many, the story’s latent humanism wouldn’t get lost to those willing to delve deep.
Director: Roman Polanski Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller Language: English Country: UK