Monday, 14 December 2015

Space Oddities - Repulsion

“Repulsion” (1965) by Roman Polanski - Ventures into the world of mental disease and the crumbling of a mind, seeping down into the murky claws of Madness. Set in London during the 60’s in the era of the “Sexual liberation” society where beginning to have the freedom of sexual expression and flirtatious behaviour from both male and female was in full Swing on the streets.

Repulsion follows a mysterious and beautiful French lady “Carol” who from the first scene seem somewhat disassociated from her surroundings, drifting off into to dreamlike trances whilst in her working environment and seems to be unaware of her surroundings when travelling too and from her employment. Though this could be from the constant sexual heckling she gets from the male admirers that her beauty attracts. “Her daily walk from home to work becomes a cacophonous and uneasy trek within a public space where she cannot avoid the unwanted attention of others.” (Y. Nguyen, 2014)

Indicating the female alienation that harassment can cause, producing the pathological shyness that could be the cause to her depression and hostility towards the male gender and her eventual psychosis. “for they are often heightened versions of what occurs naturally in our world: desire, perversion, repulsion”. (K. Morgan, 2009)

(Fig. 01)

But Carol, who lives with her older sister, gets time to spend on her own when her sisters travels abroad on holiday. Carol is clearly in discomfort with the thought of her own company, and the spiral of Madness soon pursues. From the offset she is clearly in a state of depression, with the inability to clean from the previous nights meal preparation, leaving half prepared vegetables and the corpse of a Rabbit, with time seeming to rot and decay in harmony with her own mind. As the dementia sets in, memories or hallucinations flood her mind of a violent rape by a older man. Is this from a corrupted childhood that the photo at the end of the film depicts Carol’s hateful glance at her father, enforcing her sexual hatred and repulsion for the opposite sex?

The cracks and deformations that appear throughout the home of  Carol are a reflection of the instability of her mind, hands that burst through the walls groping at her flesh, could be seen as the lecherous male society that constantly cat-talk and ogle Carol or maybe the perverted hands of her father. “They are more plausibly (and more tragically) the echoes of a very real trauma that Carol experienced in her past”. (Y. Nguyen, 2014)

(Fig. 02)

With the murderous acts that Carole commits defending herself against the sexual contact and what was thought as entitlement to the male society, She is surrounded by decaying bodies, rotting food and swarms of flies. Reflected again in the aesthetic of the home, the walls have a oozing, melting and decaying skin like quality to them when she supports herself by the wall. But this is the breaking point for Carole.

“Repulsion is a story of a victim of abuse, faced with the everyday horror of the male gaze and male entitlement”. (nytimes)



•  (Fig. 01)
•  (Fig. 02)

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