Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



I don’t think there is any film that takes you into madness as effectively as this one does. It was Roman Polanski’s first English-language film, and it is a perfect little gem. Catherine Deneuve is a manicurist who is losing her mind. She has deep sexual issues, we see her imagining being raped repeatedly, but is this the result of some incident in her past, or is it a chemical imbalance? We never know. We only see her go bonkers, in tiny steps. The movie takes its time, and some people had a problem with that, but I feel something is wrong with those people. Jeez, do you want buckets of gore in the first ten minutes? It is 45 minutes before anything dramatic happens … but from the very first minute you know there is something wrong, wrong, wrong with this girl. It is done so carefully and so subtly that you almost feel yourself going crazy along with her. Polanski uses every trick in the book from high-contrast B&W with deep shadows, to actually making her apartment become the inside of her mind, with huge cracks appearing in the walls and … well, I won’t give away the biggest scare if you haven’t seen it. By the end the apartment is littered with corpses and has grown, it is vast and echoing all the tiny sounds we’ve been hearing all along. The ticking of a clock, the ringing of a bell across the street, all these things become ominous. Deneuve gives an amazing performance, almost catatonic throughout, yet able to creep us out with just the twitch of an eyebrow. I can’t say enough good things about this film.