Directors: Polanski, Roman

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry

UK 1965 | Black & white | 105 mins | Drama | Horror

Avaliable on: 35mm, DCP, DVD

‘Characteristically ambitious and realised with a perfectionist’s precision, Polanski’s first feature after he left Poland is both a great London film and a truly unsettling study of loneliness and psychological turmoil.

When Carol (Catherine Deneuve), a shy young Belgian, is left alone for a few days in the Kensington flat she shares with her sister, she begins to withdraw into a reclusive existence where innocuous everyday realities are distorted by deep-seated anxieties. On screen throughout the film, Deneuve gives a wondrously subtle performance as the increasingly catatonic girl, but equally expressive of her terrifying inner torment are the sometimes surreal but never over-emphatic visual and aural effects created by Polanski to accompany her wanderings around the empty apartment or the bustling streets of South Kensington.

Gil Taylor’s brittle black and white images and Seamus Flannery’s inventive art direction enhance the proto-Lynchian impression of a nightmare from which it’s impossible to wake up. ‘Intense’ barely begins to describe this remarkable film.’ -Geoff Andrew