The Tenant () - IMDb
Roman Polanski's new film is a dark-witty story about love and sadomasochistic apartments in “Repulsion,” “Cul-de-sac,” “Rosemary's Baby,” “The Tenant” and the He is at the end of a long day auditioning actresses for his new play, more broadly to contemporary relations between men and women. As the BFI begins a Roman Polanski retrospective – with extended runs of the testing of an unequal marriage, the humbling of a complacent professional, rebellion against one's place in the food chain, a downbeat ending. . such as The Tenant or Bitter Moon, and films that make no space for them by. The Tenant is a psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski, starring Polanski, . Studios, from a script by Edward Albee, but this version never made it into production after the relationship between Albee and the studio soured. . In the end, it is of little importance who is normal and who is insane.
If it weren't for the existence of Werner Herzogit would be hard to imagine a film director less interested in the world of his audience, with its school runs and shopping trips, its sofas and taxes.
Roman Polanski's Carnage is a joyously unpleasant film
The backbone of Polanski's body of work is formed by three kinds of narrative — the testing of an unequal marriage, the humbling of a complacent professional, and the crumbling of a lonely mind — and few of his films buck all trends to any significant degree. Frantic, for example, a cleverly exasperating thriller about a Paris kidnapping, has similarities with other humbling narratives — Chinatown, The Ninth Gate and The Ghost — including a tendency to frustrate a major star, this time Harrison Ford, in petty ways, but it lacks some of the things they share: The Pianist, one of two films, along with Oliver Twist, that deals directly with the personal experience to which Polanski's other work gives oblique or allusive treatment, belongs to the lonely-mind genre only in its second half, once ghetto turns to wasteland.
Polanski started off writing his own films, or working closely with the authors of original screenplays, then, having found his formula, turned to adapting source material, much of it strikingly well-matched to his interests and strengths. But even these different narrative formations are telling, at bottom, the same story.
Polanski has no favourite technique, favourite actor, or favourite genre; he does, however, have a pet concern, one that adapts well. If there are two men on board, both will indeed want to be captain, but it is the woman — a wife or girlfriend, never a mother — who decides which man, and the judging process is sure to be characterised by tickled malignity or scornful glee.
The ones who want to show off how perceptive they are, the gatekeepers of the world, they're a huge turnoff. Of his adaptations of classics, it is more in line with his sensibility, and a stronger, more convincing performance, than Oliver Twist or Tess.
Even when one man gains some advantage over the other, he may still be found wanting. Having started out preening he tells a former colleague that he lives "the life of Riley"he ends up howling alone on a small rock, the decision to adorn himself with a beautiful young wife having stolen his stature, robbed him of his dignity.
His lavish residence — the castle where Walter Scott wrote Rob Roy — may have been a flashy status symbol, but the French blonde was the true sign of over-reach, the last step before the fall. The moral limitation of Polanski's work derives from his being, to some degree, a sufferer from the symptoms he identifies.
He is at once, or by turns, a large mind and a bad case; his characters' limited or lopsided worldview tend to be justified by the composition of the world. There must be something psychological at the bottom of it. Polanski conceded, under James's interrogations, that his own desire for female attention is likely a product of his size. In Repulsionone of two films the other is Chinatown to receive an extended release during the BFI retrospective, he imagined, at just the point when he was experiencing the benefits of the new sexual freedom, a young woman, Carol Catherine Deneuvewho is terrified of the male attention she attracts.
Her sister, on the other hand, is audibly giving in every night and desperate to visit the leaning tower of Pisa.
The Tenant (1976)
Though "Repulsion" is a double-edged title, telling the story from both sides the repulsion she feels, the repulsion men encounterboth meanings testify to female irrationality. The nightmare we are being shown is not Carol's but her creator's. When Polanski made another attempt at similar material, in The Tenant, he cast himself as Trelkovsky, a tiny bachelor with gentle manners, who goes slowly mad in a flat left vacant after the previous occupier leapt from the living room window.
Initially, the film looks set to be a study of Trelkovsky's tentative masculinity. He takes a girl to see Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon, and though she caresses his crotch during the film, she declines his offer of a drink afterwards. When one of his barrel-chested American friends goes on a rant about women's lib, it is in the context of this emasculation.
In The Tenant, Polanski invites you to dwell on the absurdity of situations and appearances, and his straight-faced demeanor in doing so becomes part of the joke: When Trelkovsky purchases his wig, he buys the first one he sees, and creates considerable discomfort for the help by trying it on in the store. He uses binoculars to spy on the toilet, located down the hall, again and again. He goes out in public, dressed as himself, but still wearing a little forgotten lipstick.
Polanski at his funniest is also Polanski at his creepiest, and The Tenant is as rich in scary moments as it is in laughs, often simultaneously.
The Tenant - Wikipedia
The horror is macabre, and provided in clearly observed bursts. This is surely Polanski's style; in Repulsion , stretches of quotidian activity are punctuated by a glimpse of a phantom man in a mirror or the sudden, startling appearance of fissures in the walls. In one discomfiting scene, Trelkovsky goes to the toilet and discovers himself, in his apartment, watching with binoculars.
In another, a ball bounces with supernatural uniformity before his third floor window; upon closer examination, we find that it's actually a human head. In a less imaginative film, an explanation would arrive, killing the enigma by consigning it to the supernatural or to a dream.
But Polanski declines to make sense of it for us, and we leave the film with the mystery unresolved. Sven Nykvist, best known for his work with Ingmar Bergman, shot The Tenant with his trademark clarity, and the precision of his images adds to the nightmare atmosphere. It's Nykvist's special contribution that he gives us a good look at Polanski's wild imaginings, so that when a character suddenly sprouts a thin, forked tongue, you don't miss that detail.
Contrast that with the fast-cut, muddied action of a recent horror film such as 28 Days Later, and you get the idea. Trelkovsky isolated, is an immigrant without friends or family, a man who feels he doesn't fit in. The film doesn't say that urban living is too much to bear as do some '70s films, like Little Murders or Taxi Driverand it's not a treatise on the necessity of family or social immersion.
The Tenant says that we can be made to be aliens by our own psyches, even in our own homes. Still, Trelkovsky's story isn't precisely "universal. Estranged from the privileges of Hollywood by his own ill-advised flight from justice, and without a family his wife, the actress Sharon Tate had been slaughtered by the Manson Family some years beforeit's not hard to imagine why this material may have appealed to him.
Having lived out the Holocaust in the woods outside Warsaw, and having lost his mother to the camps and his wife to butchers, Polanski presents horrors that surely pale before those he's experienced. Everything about The Tenant is too much, not just a little, but way too much. We often treasure excess, as in Kurosawa's Throne of BloodMacbeth stands, teeth clenched, with arrows bristling from him. When Godard pans interminably across a traffic jam in Week Endor when his protagonists reenact the death of Jesse James in Band of Outsidershis radical experiments seem beyond "good sense.