Well, I’ve kept Bas waiting WAY too long on this, plus everyone else waiting for a wrap-up of my Challenge, which was by and large a phenomenal success. More on that…later.
The only François Ozon film I’d seen prior to this was Swimming Pool, which I HATED (though I don’t remember enough about it now to articulate why, I still remember the feeling of dislike toward it), so I had understandably not bothered to seek out any more Ozon or even find out what his other films were. When I looked this one up after Bas assigned it to me, I was pretty instantly sure I was going to like it, though. I mean, a bottle movie with eight women in a house with a dead man that one of them presumably killed but nobody knows who, AND it’s a musical? Yes.
Roman Polanski’s first English-language film (albeit starring French legend Catherine Deneuve) Repulsion is a dark and intense dive into a woman’s madness, as Carol’s sister leaves her alone with her psychosis to go on vacation. Carol seems unwell from the first frame of the movie, prone to fall into a trance and fearful of most human contact, especially from men. As soon as her sister leaves, she’s beset with hallucinations of cracks in the walls, arms reaching to grab her, and a recurrent waking nightmare of a man breaking in to rape her.
When you see the men in her life, you can hardly blame her. Repulsion is like a textbook filled with the various forms misogyny can take; some of them more immediately dangerous than others, others insidious or casual, but all of them clearly contributing to a society that alienates and isolates Carol to the point of insanity. While watching the film, I couldn’t help but think of the recent #NotAllMen hashtag on Twitter. Well, in Carol’s small world, it most definitely is all men (and some women), even the one who seems to be the nicest.
[some spoilers, but not for everything]