Sunday, August 30, 2009

Polanski's "Repulsion"

There are movies that are worth revisiting. Roman Polanki's "Repulsion" is one of them. I guess because it is so unusual. A low budget horrror movie that was sold as a "Psycho" knockoff but that ended up being so much more. Whereas "Psycho" has become a kind of campy movie, a cool movie with a gimmick, "Repulsion" still works. Maybe because the mental illness portrayed in the movie is so real. And having gone through an anxiety disorder a couple of years ago. now it even feels more so.
What is amazing about the movie is how her condition is portrayed by using little twitches and reactions. It is never "here's the loonie" approach of "The Shining". It instead, anad Polanski says talks bout it in a documentary included in the DVD, shows that a person with that illness has various states, some in which the condition is more apparent and some in which the person looks completely normal. And it is amazing how well Catherine Denueve portrays this. It is a nuanced, extraordinary performance. And a brilliant achievement by Polanski.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Trips and life

It's interesting how traveling can open one mind to so many new things. During my recent trip to England and Scotland I saw many things of which I knew not much about. First, the history of the English monarchy. I visited the Tower of London, heard the guide talk about the Tudors and Anne Boleyn and quite frankly I was pretty much lost. Then I saw the crown jewels and I said to myself that maybe I should seek out movies and books that deal with this topic. So this weekend I am doing an English monarchy movie festival at home. I have "Elizabeth" with Cate Blanchett which is supposed to be a great film. I also have an older one called "Mary, Queen of Scots". And I have "The Other Boleyn Girl" on my DVR. So that should cover that.

On the way from Scotland to England, the tour guide began talking about the James Harriett books and I became very curious about them. They tell of life in Yorkshire during the 1940's and his life as a veterinarian in a small town. So I went to Borders and bought "All Creatures Great and Small". I have had absolutely no interest in these books before. But it's great when a trip abroad opens new horizons and makes one curious about new things.

I will write about the movies and the books on my next posting.