Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Tenant Review

The Tenant

[1] The Tenant (1976)

The Tenant is another one of Polanski's chilling horrors, made in 1976 and stars Polanski himself as the main character Trelkovsky. The film is about a quiet, inconspicuous man (Trelkovsky) who rents an appartment in France where the previous tenant committed suicide, and begins to suspect his landlord and neighbors are trying to subtly change him into the last tenant so that he too will kill himself.

The film is not so easy to grasp in the beginning which is partly down to its odd narrative structure. We witness a man rent an appartment and live his everyday life, which is quite dismal, and the only wierd thing Trelkovsky realises is that people like to stand dead still in the bathroom across the hall. The films style and theme during the first half makes it seem like its based off Polanski's real life. "It does not seem to be designed as self-parody, but it certainly comes across that way." (Maslin). Maslin's suggestion is a reasonable one, as the film does come across a bit like a self parody, but the real essence of the film lies in Trelkovsky's fragile and complex mind which binds the narrative and story together allowing Polanski to create a double climax to his mystery.

[2] Trelkovsky on the stairs (1976)

As the film progresses we slowly see that the landlords are a bit odd, and are always making complaints to Trelkovsky about little things such as noise he makes. He isn't being too loud however, and the confusion this causes makes him go a little mad. "The key error is almost certainly casting himself in the lead, as Polanski is not an adept enough thespian to pull of the challenging transformation of his Polish expatriate character from mildly eccentric outsider to full-blown cross-dressing lunatic" (Jardine, 2004). What is said here is partly true, as there are probably other more well trained actors who could have played this role, but this would have made the outlook of the story slightly different. It may well make the film a bit better in terms of acting and performance, but it would be less personal and the effect the film brings would be different. However it still stands that The Tenant would not have attracted as much of an audience if Polanski didnt actually star in it, or "if it didnt have the Polanski Trademark"(Ebert, 1976) which is what Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun Times had to say. 

[3]Trelkovsky looking out the window (1976)

Illustration List:
[1] Roman Polanski (1976), The Tenant. [electronic print] Available at: http://www.thebestfilms.net/2010/10/you-dont-want-to-know-this-50-greatest-horror-movies-ever-made/

[2] Roman Polanksi (1976), Trelkovsky on the stairs [electronic print] Available at: http://www.ugo.com/movies/roman-polanski-to-finish-the-ghost-from-prison
[3] Roman Polanski (1976), Trelkovsky looking out the window [electronic print] Available at: http://kohinoordevroy.blogspot.com/2010/04/rman-polanskis-tenant.html?zx=ba041616bc240b3b
[1] Maslin, Janet. The Tenant, Newsweek. In: Popmatters [online] Available at: http://www.popmatters.com/film/reviews/t/tenant.shtml

[2] Jardine, Dan (March 8th, 2004) The Tenant, "Tenant, The" In: Apollo Guide [online] Available at: http://www.apolloguide.com/mov_fullrev.asp?CID=5069

[3] Ebert, Roger (September 27, 1976) The Tenant In: Chicago Sun Times [online] Available at: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19760927/REVIEWS/609270301/1023

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