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Film Madness: The Uncanny Return of the Repressed in Polanskl's "The Tenant"

Linda Williams
Cinema Journal
Vol. 20, No. 2 (Spring, 1981), pp. 63-73
DOI: 10.2307/1224833
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1224833
Page Count: 11
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Film Madness: The Uncanny Return of the Repressed in Polanskl's "The Tenant"
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Abstract

Within the tradition of films about madness Polanski's "The Tenant" belongs neither to the subjective and "unexplained" horror tradition of films like "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," nor to the more objective, "explained" tradition of films like "Psycho," but to a more surrealist tradition of films which "understand" madness from within the rules of its own form of discourse. It is this aesthetic appropriation of the form, and not just the content, of madness--the precise logic of Trelkovsky's paranoid associations--that leads finally to an exploration of the problematic unity of a perpetually identifying "self."

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