Repulsion (1965), directed by Roman Polanski
Repulsion is a little-known film, except perhaps to film buffs, and is among my favorite Polanski films (though he is not my favorite director).
Repulsion stars Catherine Deneuve (another one of my top favorite actresses), who portrays a young woman who descends into insanity, murder, and self-destruction.
This is from Amazon.com:
Roman Polanski was still a newcomer to the world of cinema when he unleashed this unforgettable exercise in skin-crawling terror. Repulsion was the Polish director's first film in English, but that hardly mattered: much of the movie is as wordless (and as weird) as the silent Nosferatu. The young Catherine Deneuve plays a Belgian girl stranded in '60s London, a shy beauty with no social skills. When her sister leaves their shared flat, Deneuve goes gradually, quietly, completely mad. Her world becomes Polanski's paintbox, as the devilish director distorts reality via a series of surrealistic touches (grasping hands that protrude from elastic walls) and out-and-out murderous horror. Very few films cast the kind of eerie spell that this 1965 classic achieves, and it clearly points the way toward Polanski's Rosemary's Baby. As with most of the director's work, what is unsettling is not the overt violence, but the terrifying sense of emptiness and isolation, and the boiling unease inside one's own mind. --Robert Horton
What this review does not tell you about is that Carole, Deneuve’s character, seems to begin her descent into insanity when amorous attentions are paid to her by a young suitor. In stark contrast to her lively, outgoing sister, Carole is shy, reserved, and uncertain how to proceed in the relationship. But soon, what we can only assume to be Carole’s past begins to haunt her.
When I first picked this up years ago, the video sleeve described Carole as sexually repressed. But after viewing the film, I thought that that description was inaccurate. It appears that Carole has been a victim of rape, and once her adult feelings of sexuality and romance begin to develop, so do the memories of her past abuse.
Repulsion is a dark, slow, strange, and tragic film that lets the viewer experience a young woman’s insanity by blurring the line between paranoid hallucination and reality.
I recommend this film, but only if you are a patient movie watcher, as it is very slow paced compared to today’s movies.