Saturday, 18 December 2010

Review on The Tenant

Review on The Tenant 1976

The Tenant

The director of this film, Roman Polanski plays a role in this film as the man who rents an apartment where all the neighbors are rude and obsessed with noise that he makes, even small noises like moving furniture about upset them. Polanski often looks out his window towards the bathroom where all he sees is a person just standing there doing nothing. Whether this is really happening or just what he can see as he starts to slowly feel paranoid staying in this apartment. Roger Ebert comments on this in a 1976 review on Chicago Sun-Times. 'Polanski gets the apartment. It's in a tall, gloomy building inhabited by hateful, spiteful people who are always spying on each other. And it has a haunted bathroom; every time Polanski looks in through the bathroom window (which he does quite frequently, come to think of it) there's someone standing there motionless, looking straight back at him.' (Ebert, 1976) There are a lot of strange and unexplained things going on in this film, for example the garbage on the stairs disappears without showing us what happened to it. There is a scene where Polanski reaches out while in bed for a drink only to find that the drink on the chair is a picture. A 1976 review on Film4 mentions this. 'Frustratingly, because so much of the film is so odd, little is ever explained. But the macabre tone and eerie appearance (thanks to Ingmar Bergman's cinematographer Sven Nykvist) mark it out as an intriguing depiction of mental breakdown built round a dark comic performance by the director himself.' (Film4, 1976)

 Cleared Garbage

Being a foreigner in France, Polanski who plays Trelkovsky tries to cover his Polish origin, but still feels paranoid and alone in France. The film gives the sense of feeling alone where no one will help you and everyone is your enemy. This film feels part of Polanski's Apartment anthology which includes Repulsion and Rosemary's baby. They all share the same theme of isolation and evil neighbors. This is mentioned by Kim Newman in a review on Empire. 'Based on a novel by Roland Topor (Renfield in Herzog’s Nosferatu), this seems almost an anthology of Roman Polanski’s favourite, oppressive themes – presenting a Paris apartment which is as threatening as the London digs of Repulsion, nasty neighbours who are as demonic as those in Rosemary’s Baby and identity-switch games as humiliating as Cul-de-Sac.' (Newman, 2010)


List Of Illustrations

Figure 1. Polanski, Roman. (1967) The Tenant [Screen Cap] At: (Accessed on: 18.12.10)
Figure 2. Polanski, Roman. (1967) Cleared Garbage [Screen Cap] At: (Accessed on: 18..12.10)
Figure 3. Polanski, Roman. (1967) Paranoia [Screen Cap] At: (Accessed on: 18.12.10)


Ebert, Roger. (1976) The Tenant. (Accessed on: 18.12.10)
Film4. (1976) Le Locataire. (Accessed on: 18.12.10)
Newman, Kim. (2010) The Tenant (18) (Accessed on: 18.12.10)


1 comment:

  1. great final quote, Katy - pretty much sums up the 'appeal' (or otherwise) of the movie... now, I wonder what you made of Eraserhead...?