Repulsion locations

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More Polanskiana. This film location site made the tracking down of locations in Repulsion (1965) an easy business. I was hoping they might have an entry for The Tenant, much of which is filmed around the Porte Saint-Denis in Paris but the only other Polanski entries are for Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby. No matter, one thing I like about the outdoor scenes in Repulsion is the views of South Kensington which Polanski fixed a year or so before Donovan was celebrating the area in a rather more positive manner. I have fond memories of South Kensington in the 1970s since it was the area we stayed in every February during an annual school trip. Barring a slight change of street furniture, the busy traffic island outside the Tube station looked just the same when we were there.

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The exterior of Kensington Mansions in Trebovir Road, the location for Carol’s apartment. I’d always thought this was in a street near the Tube station but it’s actually some distance away in Earl’s Court.

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Colin (John Fraser) and Carol (Catherine Deneuve).

The hair salon where Carol works is Thurloe’s in Thurloe Place, and the shop in question is still a hair salon. Google’s Street Views were taken in May 2012 so the flags are out for the Queen’s Jubilee.

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Just down the road from Thurloe’s is the Hoop & Toy, the pub where Carol’s would-be boyfriend, Colin, goes drinking with his misogynist friends.

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The traffic island outside the Tube station which in the latest Street View was still looking like a building site. The most surprising thing about the row of shops around the Tube station is that Dino’s, a restaurant visible in some of the film shots, is still there almost fifty years later.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Polanski details
Repulsion posters
Through the Wonderwall

Repulsion posters

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More Roman Polanski. The BFI is running a season of the director’s work through January and February so Repulsion (1965) and Chinatown (1974) have been put back into circulation nationwide. I don’t live in London but I have a large number of Polanski’s films on DVD so it looks like this month will also see a mini-season in south Manchester. Anchor Bay released a set of Polanski’s first three films (plus a disc of his short works) a few years ago, a great collection whose only flaw was a lack of Jan Lenica’s poster art for Repulsion and Cul-de-Sac (1966). I don’t know what posters are being used to promote the new release of Repulsion but something using Lenica’s artwork would seem essential.

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The colour and brush style of the prone figure is very typical of Lenica but when combined with either the Clarendon typeface in the British example above, or the blocky lettering for the French poster, a Saul Bass-like design appears. The gender and eye symbols in the hand-drawn lettering reinforce a resemblance which I’d guess was deliberate. The title sequence for Repulsion, with the credits sliding across a close view of Catherine Deneuve’s eyeball, could almost have been created by Bass; the director’s credit (below) requires no further argument.

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Images by Robert Altman

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It’s taken a while but the DVD format has slowly followed the CD with the reissue of obscure works that have been out of circulation for far too long. Robert Altman’s blandly-titled Images has been on my “When The Hell Will I See That Again?” list for about 25 years, having been shown a couple of times on TV in the UK before vanishing into the cinematic ether. It’s been out on DVD (Region 1 only) for a few years now but it’s taken me this long to see it again. In a way the film’s elusiveness suits a drama concerned with hallucinations.

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