Polanski’s Deneuve

‘Frigidity’ and feminism

in From perversion to purity
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It was in 1965 that Roman Polanski would cast Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion, described by one critic as a 'one-woman show', in a role that would effectively create a persona which would resonate throughout her future film career. The British-made Repulsion was Polanski's first English-language film and his second feature. This chapter contends that Repulsion can be read against the grain to offer a surprisingly sympathetic account of what happens to a young woman of the sexual revolution generation who rejects the imperative of heterosexual activity. It assesses and critiques the reception of Polanski's film Repulsion with regard to its portrayal of female subjectivity, arguing that Deneuve's presence in the film works to disrupt rather than to confirm straightforward stereotypes and codes of femininity. The chapter discusses the significance of this film for the development of Catherine Deneuve's screen persona.

From perversion to purity

The stardom of Catherine Deneuve

Editors: Lisa Downing and Sue Harris

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