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The Tenant (1976)

Cast: Roman Polanski, Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, more...
Director: Roman Polanski, Roman Polanski
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Studio: Paramount
Genre: Black Comedy
Running Time: 125 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English
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Recently Rented By okpclo

Director Roman Polanski casts himself in the lead of the psychological thriller The Tenant. Trelkovsky (Polanski) rents an apartment in a spooky old residential building, where his neighbors -- mostly old recluses -- eye him with suspicious contempt. Upon discovering that the apartment's previous tenant, a beautiful young woman, jumped from the window in a suicide attempt, Trelkovsky begins obsessing over the dead woman. Growing increasingly paranoid, Trelkovsky convinces himself that his neighbors plan to kill him. He even comes to the conclusion that Stella (Isabel Adjani), the woman he has fallen in love with, is in on the "plot." Ultimately, Polanski assumes the identity of the suicide victim -- and inherits her self-destructive urges. Some critics found the movie tedious and overdone; others compared it to Polanski's early breakthrough, Repulsion. The film was based on Le Locataire Chimerique, a novel by Roland Topor. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

I didn't get it. by Cugat June 16, 2005 - 9:38 PM PDT
1 out of 8 members found this review helpful
He goes flippin' insane, and it didn't seem to make sense, a howling mummy is a lousy trigger if that was it. I also didn't care for the Doubtfire angle of it. To mock another review, if awkward man dressed as woman psycho-thriller stuff appeals to you, well have fun.

A Polanski Masterpiece! by dante2023 January 18, 2004 - 10:21 PM PST
15 out of 16 members found this review helpful
Paranoia. Alienation. Suicide. These are the themes of Roman Polanski's 1976 film, The Tenant. The film is tragically funny and creepy. Polanski's use of space in the apartment and the dark lighting invokes a creepy atmosphere.

The film follows a timid file clerk named Trelkovsky--played brilliantly by Roman Polanski himself--who moves into an apartment whose previous tenant, a woman named Simone, attempted suicide by jumping out of the window. He is informed by the landlord that he can rent the apartment only if Simone dies. With the hopes of her death, Trelkovsky visits her in the hospital by pretending and lying to the nurse that he is a friend. He meets Isabelle Adjani's character, a real friend visiting, standing next to Simone's bed. When he witnesses Simone lying on the bed wrapped with white bandages from head to toe like a mummy, Simone unloads a haunting scream--as if she is vengefully passing her curse to Trelkovsky. Her scream echoes and follows Trelkovsky as he leaves the hospital together with Adjani. After hearing of her death, Trelkovsky celebratingly moves into the apartment where his paranoia and downfall begins.

This film is one of my all-time favorites because it belongs in the "man in his room" category. There are only a few films out there like it. I think I can only name a few such as Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver or the French film, I Stand Alone. What I mean by "man in his room" is existential loneliness like the protagonist in Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea. The person is isolated in his space and is left with only to reflect or create his own world. In Trelkovsky's case, he creates a world of conspiracy in which the other tenants in the apartment are trying to make him commit suicide. And what happens with Trelkovsky's delusion is ultimately a funny but tragic climax.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.14)
204 Votes
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