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Watch: What if Béla Tarr Made Polanski’s Repulsion?

“Inside every narrative film is a non-narrative film struggling to get out.” Here is a wonderfully distinctive video essay from critics Adrian Martin and Christina Álvarez López that reimagines Roman Polanski’s Repulsion as the work of Béla Tarr. Zeroing in on “the dank spaces and the dead moments, the images of food-as-object, the cycle of everyday activities, the endless, implacable passages of walking,” and other Tarr associated imagery, Martin and López explore filmmaking as elementary particles, tonally rearrangeable in line with a director’s vision and story. In a supplementary write-up at MUBI, the two cite Jonathan Rosenbaum’s review of The Tenant, wherein he remarked that “formalism in mainstream cinema” has to “sneak in under another label, usually stylistic or thematic.” While it may be a stretch for some to call Polanski “mainstream,” this curatorial exercise suggests that new, disparate ideas can be found in between dialogue, and inside its conjoining images.

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