“There but for the grace of god…,” I once wrote in these pages in an attempt to illustrate my reasons for including Repulsion in my list of the top 10 horror films of all time. Nine years have passed since then, and my fear and trepidation have not abated in the least. Repulsion's depiction of a young woman's dissolution into madness is one of the most harrowing mental descents ever depicted onscreen. Filmed in London in 1965, Repulsion was Polanski's second feature film. It was also the first film in English for both the director and his star Catherine Deneuve. Young, beautiful Deneuve plays the sexually repressed outsider in a foreign land whose precarious mental state is the film's subject. Her stunning beauty and cool insularity make her a compelling protagonist even as she's overtaken by a subjective surreality. New 35mm prints have been struck for this re-release of a film that seems as fresh as the day it was released.
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