This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Catherine Deneuve is mesmerizing as a deeply troubled soul in Roman Polanski’s REPULSION

REPULSION (Roman Polanski, 1965)
Film Forum
209 West Houston St.
November 3-8

If you think Lower Manhattan was scary this last week while the power was out, just wait till you see Roman Polanski’s first English-language film, the 1965 psychological masterpiece Repulsion. Catherine Deneuve gives a mesmerizing performance as Carol Ledoux, a deeply troubled, beautiful young woman who shies away from the world, hiding something that has turned her into a frightened childlike creature who barely speaks. A manicurist who lives in London with her sister, Hélène (Yvonne Furneaux), Carol becomes entranced by cracks in the sidewalk, suddenly going nearly catatonic at their sight; in bed at night, she is terrified of the walls, which seem to break apart as she grips tight to the covers. A proper gentleman (John Fraser) is trying to start a relationship with her, but she ignores him or forgets about their meetings, unable to make any genuine connections. Deneuve’s every movement, from the blink of an eye to a wave of her hand, reveals Carol’s submerged inner turmoil and desperation, leading to an ending that is both shocking and not surprising. Shot in a creepy black-and-white by Gilbert Taylor (A Hard Day’s Night, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) and featuring a pulsating score by jazz legend Chico Hamilton, Repulsion is a brilliant journey into the limitations and possibilities of the human mind, with Polanski expertly navigating through a complex terrain. Winner of a pair of awards at the fifteenth Berlin International Film Festival, Repulsion, the first of Polanski’s Apartment Trilogy (followed by 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby and 1976’s The Tenant), will be screening in a new 35mm print November 3-8 at Film Forum, which is reopening this afternoon after having lost power because of Hurricane Sandy.

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