Disgust (1965)

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German title disgust
Original title Repulsion
Country of production Great Britain
original language English
Publishing year 1965
length 104 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Roman Polanski
script Roman Polański,
Gérard Brach
production Gene Gutowski
music Chico Hamilton
camera Gilbert Taylor
cut Alastair McIntyre

Disgust (Original title: Repulsion ) is a British thriller by the director Roman Polański from 1965 .


The 20-year-old Belgian Carole Ledoux lives with her sister Hélène in a London apartment. She works as a manicure in a beauty salon.

Carole is a shy, beautiful and very introverted young woman who often seems to live completely in her own world. She has a disturbed, almost hateful relationship with men in particular. To his frustration, she rejects her admirer Colin several times. His touch and advances are uncomfortable for her. When he gives her a kiss, Carole immediately brushes her teeth.

She also feels a real disgust for Michael, her sister's married lover. His constant presence, also in the form of his personal belongings in the bathroom, and his taunts are difficult for her to endure. Carole is also a thorn in Carole's side that he is increasingly claiming her most important caregiver, Hélène, for himself. At night she has to listen to the two of them having intercourse through the wall.

When Hélène and Michael travel to Italy for two weeks , Carole, left alone, increasingly loses touch with reality. She leaves the house less and less, no longer goes to work, draws all the curtains and finally even barricades the door.

In her isolation she suffers from delusions . She hallucinates of eerie male figures that haunt the darkened rooms, hands that reach out of the walls and cracks in the brickwork.

When the worried Colin shows up one day and breaks into the apartment to see if everything is OK, Carole kills him with a candlestick and stows the body in the bathtub. A little later, she receives a visit from the homeowner, who demands the rent and becomes intrusive after a while. He tries to rape her and is killed by her with a razor. With her hallucinations, Carole goes completely mad.

When Hélène returns from her trip, she first finds the bodies in the neglected apartment and finally discovers Carole, who is lying completely catatonic under the bed. Nobody from the residents of the neighboring apartments noticed anything of the gruesome events.

The last shot of the film shows a family portrait from Carole's childhood, in which she looks at her father with fixed, haunted eyes and a strangely apathetic expression. This suggests that their psychosis or neurosis and phobias can be traced back to traumatic childhood experiences, with sexual abuse being arguably the most likely. However, there are other interpretations. Polański himself said: “I was interested in showing her illness and creating a mood. The end, the close-up of the family photo, should show that the girl was like that from the start. "


The film marks the beginning of the so-called tenant trilogy by Roman Polański , which was later continued with Rosemary's Baby ( 1968 ) and The Tenant ( 1976 ). In all three films, an apartment becomes the setting for a horror story.

Ekel was the Polish director's first English-language production and marked his breakthrough in the United States and Great Britain . The same applies to the main actress Catherine Deneuve .

The film is told almost entirely from the point of view of the main character Carole Ledoux, which is especially clear when you portray her hallucinations. It starts and ends with a close-up of her eyes. Polański cleverly manages to transform the audience's initial sympathy for the young woman step by step into sheer horror.

In the title sequence, the names of those involved wander diagonally in front of the close-up eye. Only the name of the director moves horizontally across the middle of the eye. This is a clear quote from the surrealist film An Andalusian Dog from 1929, where a horizontal strip of cloud crosses the moon and the actor Luis Buñuel then makes a horizontal cut through one eye with a razor.

By playing with light and shadow, sparingly used jazz music and numerous shock moments - effectively staged using the trick technique of the time - the director creates a mood of constant fear and depression. In doing so, he partly resorts to the techniques of film noir and German expressionism . The many silent passages in the film - often not a word is spoken for minutes - also contribute to the creepy atmosphere.

The use of symbols is remarkable. For example, there is a dead rabbit in Carole's apartment, which she does not prepare but slowly decays. The animal's decomposition process takes place analogously to Carole's slow drift into madness. The cracks in the walls and the street indicate the inner turmoil of the main character.

In the 1960s, Ekel was not approved for young people in Germany. At the time, this was due, among other things, to the fact that a female orgasm can be heard in the film . Today the film is approved for people aged 16 and over.

Roman Polański made a cameo as a musician.


The German synchronization was commissioned by Berliner Synchron , based on a dialogue book and under the dialogue direction of Klaus von Wahl .

role actor German speaker
Carole Ledoux Catherine Deneuve Gisela Fritsch
Michael Ian Hendry Rolf Schult
Colin John Fraser Thomas Danneberg
Hélène Ledoux Yvonne Furneaux Renate Küster
landlord Patrick Wymark Martin Hirthe
Madame Denis Valerie Taylor Alice Treff


“Based on an atmospherically dense description of the milieu, the staging increasingly adopts the heroine's point of view and alienates the banal everyday life into an inferno of shocking visions. A technically perfect psychological thriller that works with elements of horror dramaturgy and shows the viewer his own voyeuristic perspective. "

“Polanski and [the cinematographer Gilbert] Taylor pull us into this vortex, a vortex of fear, aversion, repugnance and an almost inconceivable attraction of death, triggered by something we don't know, about which we only know it must be a long time ago, probably in childhood. 'Disgust' takes hold of us, in pictures that seem concentrated and always remain attached to the topic, showing no way out or even offering the viewer any way out. But this makes this story one that does not make Carole appear as an outsider or a stranger, especially since the ambiguity that Polanski leaves us with about the causes of the psychosis forces us to talk about this delusion, Carole, her surroundings and Carole as a murderer to think about. "

- Ulrich Behrens : filmzentrale.com

" Disgust remains a pessimistic film, a film that portrays the city as a place of loneliness, that portrays people as being at the mercy of their own fears and leaves little hope of a saving end."

- Benjamin Happel : filmzentrale.com

“The story of the girl Carol, who doesn't want to be touched and therefore hides in a shabby London apartment, kills her boyfriend there and later cuts the house owner's throat, is just an excuse for Polanski to ingratiate himself. His crude metaphors give it away: A rabbit is rotting in the kitchen, Cocteau hands reach for Carol in the hallway, the potatoes are sprouting in the close-up, cracks bursting with a roar in the walls. This is coupled with a senselessness that is common: Not its content, but the film's style is shoddy. This is all the more sad since Polanski wasted an unheard-of idea, telling of a girl who acknowledges the brutal and misogyne agreement of those who think they know what is proper and what is healthy with madness and murder gets sick instead of giving in. "


At the Berlin Film Festival in 1965 , Roman Polański's film was represented in the competition for the Golden Bear for best film, but it fell short of Jean-Luc Godard's crime film Lemmy Caution against Alpha 60 . However, the director was awarded the Silver Bear (special prize of the jury) and the FIPRESCI Prize of the international association of film critics and film journalists. A year later cinematographer Gilbert Taylor was nominated for the British British Film Academy Award (best camera for a black and white film).


  • Helmut Kolitzus: Roman Polanski's “Disgust” (1965) - a conglomerate of horror and sex - or a subtle representation of a schizophrenic psychosis? in Joachim Ronge and Bernhard Kügelgen (eds.): Perspectives of the video in clinical psychiatry and psychotherapy . Springer, Berlin 1993, ISBN 978-3-540-54981-9 . Pp. 247-256.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Release certificate for disgust . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , May 2010 (PDF; test number: 34 111 V).
  2. Jochen Kürten: 2 x Roman Polanski DVD tip, Deutsche Welle, August 10, 2012, accessed on May 28, 2020.
  3. disgust. In: synchronkartei.de. German dubbing index , accessed on August 12, 2019 .
  4. disgust. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed June 13, 2016 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  5. Ulrich Behrens: Disgust. Abysses. In: filmzentrale.com . 2004, accessed June 13, 2016 .
  6. Benjamin Happel: Disgust. In: filmzentrale.com . Retrieved June 13, 2016 .
  7. ^ Uwe Nettelbeck : The Berlin Film Festival in the year zero . In: The time . No. 28 , July 9, 1965, ISSN  0044-2070 ( online [accessed June 13, 2016]).