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Jeremy Carr

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781800859326

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781800859326.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Paranoia and Perception

Paranoia and Perception

(p.55) Chapter 3: Paranoia and Perception

Jeremy Carr

Liverpool University Press

Reflecting and affecting her fears, the Kensington flat Carol shares with Helen is a palpable expression of dread, realized primarily in Polanski’s illustrative production design. The apartment appears in a perpetual state of flux, with malleable walls, spatial extensions, and a cumulative disarray that parallels Carol’s debilitating breakdown. As Carol moves carefully and woefully from room to room, traversing the hallways with petrified trepidation, external noises signal a peripheral life outside, while inside, ticking clocks, buzzing flies, and harassing phone calls form aural reminders of an animated domestic space, strengthening the abstract ambiance of her torment. Polanski’s camera scans Repulsion’s interiors in a visual establishment of relevant decor, often enlisted alongside tactile, abject textures and revolting objects like bloodstained floors, rotting potatoes, and a decaying rabbit, the head of which finds its way to Carol’s handbag, prompting the public revelation of her private disturbance. While this attention to tangible detail recalls The Tenant (1976), where Polanski’s main character obsesses over clothes and trinkets and such grotesque items as a tooth stuck in a wall, signifying precursors to his mental fissure, this chapter will also consider the Polanski-esque pattern of a few characters in one combustible location.

Keywords:   Dread, Production Design, Abject, Domestic, Location

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