Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Tenant (1976)

Original title: Le Locataire

Director: Roman Polanski

Writers: Roland Topor, Gerard Brach, Roman Polanski

Composer:  Philippe Sarde

Starring:  Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, Jo Van Fleet, Bernard Fresson, Lila Kedrova, Claude Pieplu, Rufus, Shelley Winters

More info: IMDb

Tagline: No one does it to you like Roman Polanski.

Plot:  A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Eventually, but {note to future self} I'll review the theory about what's probably going on first.


I'll admit it.  I didn't get it.  At all.  I wanted to so badly but something was holding me back as if one piece of the puzzle were missing and it was the most important piece that would allow me to see the image in its entirety.  The performances were fine as were all of the other aspects of the picture but it didn't gel for me.  I've been meaning to see this movie for thirty years so I've had this, albeit minor, anticipation to see it.  It's really cryptic and I figured there must be clues here somewhere that will tell me what I need to know.  However, I was so dismayed and somewhat disappointed at the end (because I was totally in the dark as to what I just saw) that I had no interest in watching it a second time to, hopefully, figure it out.  Instead I dialed up Uncle Internet and he told me everything I need to know.  Here's where the spoilers come in.  I read A LOT of theories as to what happened.  The one that made the most sense has Trelkovsky (Polanski) having almost murdered the woman who fell to her near death out of the apartment window.  He rents her apartment and throughout the course of the film, his guilt slowly overtakes him and he becomes that woman, clothes and all.  That makes all the sense in the world, especially with the last scene in the hospital which is a repeat from the beginning of the film, bringing it full circle.  Suddenly the film works and I'm totally on board watching it again but with this knowledge.  Then I can watch for all of the clues and allow myself to enjoy it instead of being confused by it.  Damn that Polanski fella.  The Paramount DVD has a good anamorphic widescreen print with the only extra the anamorphic widescreen theatrical trailer.  And how about that trailer?  You'd think it was a horror picture but that's the last thing you get from seeing the movie.  Horrible marketing.

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