Repulsion

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(1965, directed by Roman Polanski)

- inducted 2016 –

“It is difficult nowadays to talk about the films of Roman Polanski without addressing extraneous issues. Even thinking about his work requires some consideration of where you stand on a few fundamental questions: is it possible to separate the artist from the art? Should you even want to? Is it possible to laud a film without in some way excusing the actions of the maker?

“These questions are especially pertinent in the case of Roman Polanski, because many of his films, especially those made earlier in his career, seem to spring fully formed from his neuroses. Perhaps that is the best way to describe Repulsion: as a profoundly neurotic film. Polanski traps us in the head of Carol (Catherine Deneuve) just like Carol herself is trapped in her apartment by her fears.

“How can you reconcile the man who depicts a woman driven insane by preying men with such empathy and the man who himself preyed on a young girl? Because Repulsion is extremely empathetic toward Carol, and lets us understand just how oppressive the male gaze can feel. It's hard to imagine anyone other than Deneuve in the lead: she's brittle and wide-eyed, but also impassive when you expect it least. In many ways Carol is the monster of this movie. However, Deneuve never lets her become just that: the multiple murders she commits are not rational, but they are in some twisted way justified.

“Mostly, the difficulty in dismissing Polanski's films because of his actions is that many of his films are difficult to dismiss. Repulsion especially, in all its distorted, eerie, rotting glory, has so many haunting images and disturbing moments that it's simply impossible to forget - even if you wanted to do so.”

~ Hedwig van Driel

Principal cast: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux, Patrick Wymark, Renee Houston, Valerie Taylor, James Villiers, Helen Fraser, Hugh Futche, Monica Merlin, Imogen Graham, Mike Pratt, and an uncredited appearance by Roman Polanski
Original screenplay by Roman Polanski & Gerard Brach
Adaptation by David Stone
Producer: Gene Gutowski
Executive producer: Michael Klinger, Tony Tenser (both uncredited)
Associate producer: Robert Sterne, Sam Waynberg
Director of photography Gilbert Taylor
Art direction by Seamus Flannery
Film editing by Alastair McIntyre
Music composed by Chico Hamilton
Makeup by Tom Smith
Hairdresser Gladys Leakey
Sound by: Stephen Dalby (supervisor), Leslie Hammond (sound mixer), Gerry Humphreys (sound recordist), Tom Priestley (sound editor)
Titles designer: Maurice Binder (uncredited)

United Kingdom
Duration: 105 minutes
Languages: English
Filmed in black and white
Sound mix: Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Cinematographic process: Spherical
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Printed film format: 35mm

A Compton Production
Released in USA by Royal Films International
Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1965
USA release date: 2 October 1965

Awards and honors:
- 50th Anniv. Muriel Award
- Berlin International Film Festival, 1965: Special Prize of the Jury (won)
- Berlin International Film Festival, 1965: FIPRESCI Prize (won)
- Berlin International Film Festival, 1965: Golden Berlin Bear (nominated)
- BAFTA Film Awards, 1965: Best British Cinematography, Black and White (nominated)
- NYFCC Awards, 1965: Best Director, Roman Polanski (2nd place)
- NYFCC Awards, 1965: Best Actress, Catherine Deneuve (3rd place)