I’d bet anything Repulsion made David Cronenberg want to be a director. The psychosexual terrors of the young, virginal Carol (a hypnotized Catherine Deneuve) are made manifest in the grabby hands protruding from the walls (much as Cronenberg’s similarly pliable television screen in Videodrome) of her sister’s cavernous-yet-claustrophobic London flat. Reality splits at the seams as the paper thin walls, made thinner by her sister Helen’s orgasmic throes, crack one way then another eventually splitting wide open in an echo of Carol’s deepening madness. A decapitated rabbit (wait to see where she puts the head) left to rot on a plate, out of control potato eyes, and increasingly violent rape fantasies are but a few tricks Roman Polanski uses to show Carol’s lapses in time and as a low budget but highly effective means to her inevitable homicidal collapse. Anything else about Repulsion, especially the blank-stared Carol, must be intuited. Is Polanski commenting on the perverse and shallow standards of modern beauty through Deneuve’s vapid and archetypal blonde who is, oscillating between fascination and repulsion, consumed by sex and nothing else? Or perhaps it’s a statement on society’s constant obsession with sex represented by the pervasive advances on the preadolescent psyche inhabiting Carol’s voluptuous figure by John Fraser’s forlorn suitor or Patrick Wymark’s lascivious landlord (after all, Carol’s only glimmer of personality comes from her childlike laughter at a co-worker’s Charlie Chaplin impersonation). In either reading, Repulsion remains a deceptive and disturbing portrait by a master filmmaker coming into his own with an unsettling visual language and a fearless insight into the terrors that haunt the dark corners of the mind.
27 Jul 2012 / 0 notes
David Cronenberg’s mercurial, surrealist Videodrome defies categorization. At times a horror film dealing in bodily mutilation and mutation and at others a conspiracy thriller about a revolution of the “new flesh”. Erotica, science-fiction, fantasy, and art house coalesce to form the patchwork nightmare of Cronenberg’s highly prophetic and influential dialectic concerning the mind influencing the body, the body influencing the mind, and how both are ensnared by the hypnotic stranglehold of ever present technology. The 21st century realities of human interaction with the screen (the “retina of the mind’s eye”) are made manifest by the visionary Cronenberg in a fascinating, horrifying parable decades ahead of its time.
22 Apr 2012 / 0 notes