8:00 PM, 26th August, 2011
In 1942, the leaders of the Vichy government in France make a soul-selling deal with the Nazis. Local Jewry have been forced to wear the yellow identification stars for a while now, and have being ostracised by a large proportion of non-Jewish Parisians as a result. But then, in the early hours of July 6th, 13,000 Jews are rounded up by French policemen and sent to The Winter Velodrome, where they will endure hellish conditions without decent water, food or healthcare, and, perhaps most ominously, without knowing their ultimate fate.
Earlier this year another film, Sarah’s Key, used this incident as a major plot point. The Round Up, however, tells the story in full, and is a much better film. There are a few recognisable faces in the cast – including Reno and Laurent – but the real star here is the story itself, which unfolds with horror after horror, all the while juxtaposing the Jewish experience with scenes of Hitler and his triumphalism.
This film took more at the French box office than both the similarly themed Schindler’s List and The Pianist, and if you liked those films (as well as, more recently, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas), then there’s no doubt that you should come along and see this one as well. It’s certainly not a cheerful night out, but it is a vastly compelling one.
10:15 PM, 26th August, 2011
This is Polanski's first film made in English and, while his movies often divide movie fans, I would bet that virtually every Polanski buff would list Repulsion as one of his very best works. For my money, it is among the most important and impressive movies of the 1960s, and one of the most chilling psychological thrillers ever made.
Carole Ledoux (Deneuve) works in London as a manicurist and lives in an apartment with her sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux). Although she has an admiring boyfriend in Colin (Fraser), Carol is repulsed by sexuality, and particularly by her sister's married lover, Michael (Hendry). When her sister leaves her alone in the apartment for a few days, the things that scare Carol are at first things that scare a lot of people spending the night alone: hearing imagined footsteps in the hallway and the like. But while normal people might get a brief fright, Carol descends into a madness of hallucinations with terrifying consequences.
Repulsion is seen almost entirely from Carol's point of view, using techniques borrowed by later directors such as Darren Aronofsky for his film, Pi, which gives the entire experience a claustrophobic feeling that significantly enhances the impact of Carol's hallucinations.
The entire cast is excellent, especially Deneuve, who is perfect as the beautiful and disturbed girl slowly lost to delusion and phobia. Not just a film, this is what I call an 'experience'. On the big screen you can't help but be pulled into the girl's madness - I was jumpy for days afterwards.