In connection with the Electric Sheep Film Club at the Prince Charles Cinema every first Wednesday of the month, we run a film writing competition: film students and aspiring film writers are invited to write a 200-word review of the film on show that month. The best review is picked by a film professional, and renowned Polish poster designer Andrzej Klimowski was the judge of our November competition for Roman Polanski’s Repulsion (1965). The prize for the best review is publication on the Electric Sheep website. We are pleased to announce that the winner is Matthew Pink. Andrzej Klimowski said: ‘All three of the short-listed reviews [the other two were AG Robson and Richard Walsh] of Polanski’s Repulsion were very effective evocations of the film’s powerful emotive force. The film, which I haven’t seen in over 30 years, rushed back to my mind in its entirety after reading these concise but vivid accounts. Matthew Pink’s writing had a quality that resembled a miniature scenario. When reading his piece I felt that I was in the dark apartment with Catherine Deneuve enduring the heightened claustrophobia.’ Here is Matthew’s review:
The first crack creeps along the thick masque of face cream in a beauty parlour. But the cracks run deeper than the surface of the skin.
Polanski’s film plunges into this crack, the line dividing sexual fascination and repulsion, the male and the female, the society and the individual. The face, the eye, the four walls around Catherine Deneuve’s Carol all rupture and fracture. Her mind’s grasp on reality splinters, she withdraws and psychosis sets in; murder the result.
Polanski’s camera, always on Carol’s shoulder, follows her, playing with the dimensions of the flat, condensing, flattening, blocking space and view, disallowing normal perception. The sound too creeps up on us, interspersing gulfs of emptiness on the track with bursts of rush staccato drumming, announcing broken chapters.
Those sounds, which are always present and yet go unheard in daily life, the ticking clock, the dripping tap, are heightened, made alienating and brought to the fore. The additional jazz score starts at regular rhythm only to hit entropy and break down. Image and sound suffer fissures too, things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.
An uncooked rabbit carcass festers throughout but the abiding image is the human hand, discarnate, reaching, groping.
Next screening: Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger with live rescore by Minima, Wednesday 2 December. For details on how to enter the competition, visit our Film Club page.