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Facts You Didn’t Know About Roman Polanski’s Movie ‘Repulsion’

Every so often a director/producers come up with a movie that leaves such a lasting impression, people decades later continue to discuss it regularly. Alfred Hitchcock and George A. Romero are two such directors to have their movies live on forever. One such direct/writer/producer who may join them in those ranks The Ninth Gate director Roman Polanski.

One of his most well-received films was titled Repulsion. It tells the story of a woman absolutely put off by sexual contact and has trouble grasping reality. But here are a couple of things about the film you may not know:

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1. First Depiction of Female Orgasm

When it comes to anything remotely sexual in a movie, censorship commissions seem to have odd specific rules. The British Board of Film Censors thought that 1965’s Repulsion’s female orgasm scene should be allowed to stay in the film. It was the first time the organization had ever done this.
It is true that very few mainstream movies had anything slightly sexual, but it’s probably the fact that it was sound only that let it pass with the blessing of the board.

2. It’s Part of a Trilogy

You ever watch a film series and feel like it’s part of a trilogy? For some movies like Star War or Marvel, it’s pretty easy to tell which films tie right into each other. But for others, the connection is a little more subtle.

While some movies focus on a specific storyline, Repulsion is the first movie in a trilogy that includes Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant. The Star Wars series has a very specific story the audience is meant to follow, but Polanski’s films are connected by something more abstract.

The trilogy gives the audience a different take on living in an apartment complex and the multitude of dangers that can arise in such a setting.

3. Repulsion Was Meant to Fund Another Movie

The film Repulsion, according to Polanski and co-writer Gerard Brach, had hoped the film would be very successful. But that hope for success was because they wished to fund a different film titled Cul-de-sac.

Here’s the plot, according to movie info site IMDB: “In search of help, two wounded gangsters on the run find refuge in the secluded castle of a feeble man and his wife; however, under the point of a gun, nothing is what it seems.”

4. It is on “The 25 Most Dangerous Films” List

Repulsion paints a pretty disturbing picture of a woman suffering from severe anxiety and crippling hallucinations. But the things that the main character deals with are things that many people don’t feel should be in a movie they’re at a theater for.

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While the movies on the list display some of the most violent things humanity is capable of, mubi.com writer ‘Starts with a b’ believes these are “films that rearrange your head, that challenge your bedrock ideas about life and love and the big sleep. Consciousness-expanders, in other words, but rarely in a pleasant way. Thank God for them.”

5. Part of The Movie Was Filmed On A Famous Bridge

The scene that involved Carol, actress Catherine Deneuve’s character, running across stumbling as she crossed the bridge, was filmed on the Hammersmith Bridge in London. The bridge, which allows pedestrians, cyclists, and autos to cross is now relying on donations for repairs to maintain it.

6. Parts Were Inspired by Older Movies

There is a spine-chilling scene in which Carol walks slowly down a corridor as discolored hands reach out to touch her. It sounds pretty iconic, doesn’t it? It was actually inspired by a similar scene in the 1946 film La Belle et La Bette, by filmmaker Jean Cocteau.

7. It Catapulted the Main Actress’s Career

Catherine Deneuve, the title’s lead, had actually been the star of a musical before signing on to play the role of Carol. The interesting part here is that while she had numerous lines in the previous film, Repulsion relied more on the environment and Carol’s response to the people, noises, and hallucinations that she came into contact with or experienced.

It was Deneuve’s ability to really ‘sell’ the character with so few lines that drove home how much acting range she really had.

8. It Was Polanski’s First English Film

Before making Repulsion, Polanski had released Knife in the Water, a film in Polish.

9. Only His Second Feature Film

Roman Polanski had many writing credits, though before Knife in the Water, all writing was for short features. After the success he had with his 1962 film, Polanski decided to take a chance and try his hand with an English film.

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