Rent Repulsion (1965)

3.7 of 5 from 160 ratings
1h 40min
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Carol (Catherine Deneuve), a young French girl living in Sixties' London, is repelled, yet fascinated by men. Her radiant beauty attracts the opposite sex, but she shrinks from their advances. Her days are spent in an intensely feminine atmosphere: working in a beauty salon, and clinging to her sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux) for love. Things start to unwind however when Helen goes away with her married boyfriend (Ian Hendry). As Carol incarcerates herself in her sinister, shadowy flat, men begin to invade her dreams night and day, mixing her terror with delight as bizarre hallucinations take hold of her mind. The walls start to crack, literally, before her eyes.
Finally, racked and depraved through her delirium, she is left with only one instinct towards the men who invade her life - that of a killer...
, , , , , , , , , , , Imogen Graham, , , Hercules Bellville, , , , ,
Gene Gutowski
Roman Polanski, Gérard Brach, David Stone
Gilbert Taylor
Classics, Drama, Thrillers
Award Winners, Films to Watch If You Like..., Films to Watch if You Like: Get Carter, Getting to Know..., Getting to Know: Catherine Deneuve, New waves of Polish Cinema, The Biggest Oscar Snubs: Part 1, What to watch by country

1965 Berlinale Silver Bear Jury Prize #2

1965 Berlinale FIPRESCI Prize

Release Date:
Run Time:
100 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.66:1
B & W
  • Audio commentary with Roman Polanski and Catherine Deneuve
  • 'Clive James meets Roman Polanski' documentary
  • Interview with stand-in cinematographer Stanley Long
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Stills gallery
Release Date:
Run Time:
100 minutes
English LPCM Mono
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.66:1
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
(0) All
  • Polanski's Polish Shorts: Murder; Toothful Smile; The Lamp; Let's Break the Ball; When the Angels Fall; The Mammal and Two Men and a Wardrobe
  • Interview with Stanley Long - Replacement Cinematographer
  • The Southbank Show - Interview with Roman Polanski
  • Russel Harty Interview with Roman Polanski
  • Clive James Meets Roman Polanski
  • 'Repulsion' Original Theatrical Trailer
  • 'Cul-De-Sac' Original Trailer
  • Trailers

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Reviews (3) of Repulsion

Haunting - Repulsion review by PT

Spoiler Alert

Deneuve gives an astonishing performance early in her career here. She plays Carol, a young innocent woman who lives with her sister in London.

A stunning young lady who is sexually repressed and as such this leads to a slow mental breakdown, culminating in an irrational fear of men.

Left alone in the flat, her brain begins to meltdown in the claustrophobic , haunting surroundings.

The going off of a cooked rabbit in the kitchen a symbol of her cerebral deterioration. Sexual hallucinations follow, which lead to actions in the real world.

Shot in black and white, which suits the film perfectly, this is a very arty piece of cinema. Fans of this genre should really appreciate this class film. Fantastic.

4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

Spoilers follow ... - Repulsion review by NP

Spoiler Alert

This is often known as ‘Roman Polanski’s Repulsion’, so inter-twined is the director and this piece of work. Catherine Deneuve plays listless Carol, a stunning blond who acts like the dowdiest wallflower you could meet. She lives with her sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux), married boyfriend Michael (Ian Hendry) and is pursued – without much success – by Colin (John Fraser). The attention to minutiae in the dilapidated building is not dissimilar to the location in Polanski’s ‘The Tenant (1976)’.

In fact, that is not the only similarity – Carol could be a relation of the other film’s central Trelkovsky character; she even knocks heads with Colin as Trelkovsky does with Isabelle Adjani’s Stella in a similar scene in the later film. Equally, her comparable descent from being merely preoccupied to full paranoia to the point of hallucination adds to this exploration into her increasingly fragile mental state.

As a shocking tale of someone sliding into insanity, I found this effective, but unfairly, I feel it has dated in a way that ‘The Tenant’ has not. It is still a persuasive and occasionally unnerving depiction of madness. Deneuve is very good in it, as is the rest of the cast, and Polanski makes the most of her increasing physical and mental isolation.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Psychological Horror. - Repulsion review by Steve

Spoiler Alert

Arthouse horror which is a brilliant model for how to unsettle an audience. Catherine Deneuve plays a Belgian abroad in London. During a period of isolation, her various neuroses, particularly her anxiety at being touched by men, develop into schizophrenia and her world begins to rupture, literally.

And in her fear, she protects herself by killing the men who intrude into her Kensington apartment. In his first English language film Roman Polanski uses the tools of his art to explain the frightening world she inhabits, including distorted sounds, expressionist effects and stark black and white contrast. And there are jump scares too.

This is an abstract film. It's tightens the pressure of apprehension slowly and inexorably. It focuses completely on the fragile woman's gradual mental collapse. In one scene, we are watching her sleep! Many horror films use madness as a plot device, but here the audience is immersed into her psychosis. It is a disturbing experience.

Eventually it becomes unmissable that this fractured psyche was the victim of sexual abuse as a child. And it should be recognised that Polanski was later guilty of this. Which makes a disturbing film actually problematic. And it's also an original and inspired work of cinematic imagination... featuring an affecting and provocative performance by the star.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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