Wednesday, August 19, 2009 – 7:30pm
Great Britain 1965. Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux, Patrick Wymark

RepulsionOften compared to Hitchcock’s Psycho, Roman Polanski’s second feature (and his first in English) is a surrealist-tinged Freudian nightmare, and one of modern cinema’s most masterful studies of mental breakdown. Catherine Deneuve stars as Carol, an isolated, repressed young woman who shares a London flat with her vivacious older sister, Hélène. Traumatized by a past sexual assault, either imagined or real, Carol cannot bear to be touched by men, and she is haunted by the sounds of love-making coming through the walls from her sister’s bedroom. When Hélène takes off for a wild weekend with her married boyfriend, Carol falls to pieces. It is the walls themselves that begin to torment her now — sprouting, in one famous scene, plaster hands that claw lustfully after her. Deliberately, ominously paced, Polanski’s chic psychological thriller makes stunning use of image and sound to evoke the hallucinated horror of psychosis, and demonstrates a great flair for capturing the sinister elements of ordinary, everyday objects. “Perhaps Polanski’s most perfectly realised film…All in all, one of the most intelligent horror movies ever made, and certainly one of the most frighteningly effective.” (Geoff Andrew, Time Out). B&W, 35mm. 104 mins.

Post-screening discussion with Brian Ganter. Brian works in the Pacific Cinémathèque Education Department, with a focus on media literacy and Western Canadian cinema and image-making. He is also a filmmaker and an instructor in literary and digital media studies at Capilano University in North Vancouver.

Presented in partnership with Pacific Cinémathèque’s Education Department.

“A classy, truly horrific psychological drama…Polanski draws out a remarkable performance from young French thesp, Catherine Deneuve.”
Variety | full review

‘Repulsion’ works brilliantly as a vision of modern life at its most violently alienated.”
New York Times | full review

“Still perhaps Polanski’s most perfectly realised film, a stunning portrait…one of the most intelligent horror movies ever made”
Time Out New York | full review

View trailer