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The Director's Idea by Ken Dancyger

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Chapter 16

Roman Polanski: The Aloneness of Existence

Introduction

In Roman Polanski’s work, the main characters are abandoned and the question is whether they can continue to exist. At times the answer is no, as in “The Tenant” (1976). At other times the answer is yes, but the character has suffered a complete emotional collapse, as in “Repulsion” (1965), or has borne the devil’s baby, as in “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968). At yet other times, the character survives with the wounds less obvious but no less deep, such as in “The Pianist” (2002) and “Chinatown” (1974).

So the question that persists in Polanski’s world is the existential paradox that if each of us is alone how can we survive or sustain ourselves? Other filmmakers have concerned themselves ...

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