Scream Factory: The Tenant

Milestone, Flicker Alley, Oscilloscope, Cinema Guild...they're all here.
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Feego
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas

Scream Factory: The Tenant

#26 Post by Feego » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:34 pm

The novel is coming back into print this year from Valancourt Books. It doesn’t look like it will contain short stories or artwork like the previous edition though.

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Scream Factory: The Tenant

#27 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Sep 29, 2020 1:25 am

Revisted this via the Scream Factory blu and I liked it a lot more after a very underwhelming first viewing back in college. knives' reading from the horror thread is helpful as a starting point in forgiving the deviation from the other two films' fluid build of introducing oppression into apparent bouts of groundedness. From the first frame, Polanski is a foreigner immediately uncomfortable and constantly thwarted from any bearings on the beam of belongingness. Even when he seems to be successfully flirting with a woman he loses his money in a bumbling failure to react appropriately or exercise the decision he wants to communicate. His friends that come over don't seem like friends, and he has no harmony with their personalities, slipping into the corners of the room or stepping over them, and certainly not laughing or acting with any ease at their attempts at humor (this scene might as well represent his experience in America). The entire film is an externalization of the feeling of displacement, and the casting of himself feels like a great allegory for a man unable to find solace or relief from inclusion - yes, a man with a worldview based on traumatic events coming from left field and disrupting his sense of order, safety, and trust in his milieus- but also someone who has coped through always remaining an outsider by choice or by happenstance, no matter what country he was in. The concept of assimilation without his own consciousness or permission is first presented in the behavior of smoking Marlboro and that instant gratification that comes from his first drag, as if his identity is being chosen for him and that alleviates pressure to just give in, only for that serenity to be short-lived and leave him more imbalanced than before.

Thankfully the film’s mode of apathetic confusion (which is definitely a challenging fusion of tones to pull off) doesn't fold to suggest a plea of self-pity. It’s to Polanski’s credit that he doesn’t allow his character to earn this through exaggerated development, nor do the horrors present themselves as oppressive from any particular space onto Polanski from any persecutory direction that would cause a thematic sympathy for allegorical-specific marginalization. Instead this is Polanski's exhibition of what 'life on life's terms' means to him; how resilience- a characteristic he clearly has regardless of what you think of him- may be helpful but not all the time, and it doesn't prevent the seemingly random acts of horror that are coming no matter what, for no identifiable reason (or to say it differently, the reason just isn’t the point since it doesn’t matter as much as the experience). The tone of this film is almost too complacent and calm for a while throughout persistent ungroundedness for comfort, which explains why it seems 'off' without this context. This actually makes a lot of sense given how we understand trauma today not as an experience from the past, but an ongoing ubiquitous feeling that is always with a surviver. Polanski's affect and the film's strangeness are all treated on the same wavelength of unsettled but expected in a manner that's both sad and serene in its ongoing acceptance/anxiety gradual temperament shift of the 'surrender' spectrum, because it also points at how that attitude can never be sustained even for the desensitized. As opposed to the first two installments of the trilogy, it doesn't matter here whether Polanski's experiences are delusions or real occurrences. An abrupt strangulation that assaults him as he goes about his routine is his subjective truth and therefore that's all that matters.

There’s little scarier than an intangible threat that doesn’t play by any rules or rationale, so in that department this takes the cake of the trilogy as we’re left trapped in the physical horror and the enigmatic quicksand that renders our psyche’s logic as impotent as our corporeal power to issue control.

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