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.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.