A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.
In Paris, the shy bureaucrat Trelkovsky rents an old apartment without bathroom where the previous tenant, the Egyptologist Simone Choule, committed suicide. The unfriendly concierge (Shelley Winters) and the tough landlord Mr. Zy establish stringent rules of behavior and Trelkovsky feels ridden by his neighbors. Meanwhile he visits Simone in the hospital and befriends her girlfriend Stella. After the death of Simone, Trelkovsky feels obsessed for her and believes his landlord and neighbors are plotting a scheme to force him to also commit suicide.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
According to the 3rd December 1975 edition of show-business trade paper 'Variety' the period of principal photography on this picture had a production shoot length of fourteen weeks. See more »
When Trelkovsky is unpacking as he moves into the apartment, a crew member is reflected in the small mirror adjacent to the kitchen sink. Two crew members are then reflected in the armoire's mirror as Trelkovsky opens it. See more »
These days, relationships with neighbors can be... quite complicated. You know, little things that get blown up out of all proportion? You know what I mean?
No, no I don't. I mind my own business.
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The film has no end credits; only the Paramount logo. See more »
Although the UK cinema version was complete the 1986 CIC video was cut by 6 secs by the BBFC to remove a brief extract of the banned nunchaku scene from Enter the Dragon (seen by Trelkovsky and Stella during a cinema visit). The cuts were fully waived in the 2004 Paramount DVD. See more »
Roman Polanski is considered as one of the most important directors of our time, as the mind behind classics such as "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown". Probably what makes Polanski's cinema a very interesting one is the fact that while he is capable of creating commercially attractive films such as the afore mentioned masterpieces, he is also fond of making low-key movies that are of a more personal nature. "Le Locataire", or "The Tenant", is one of those movies; a horror/suspense story about paranoia and obsession that is among his best works and probably among the best horror movies ever done.
Polanski himself plays Telkovsky, a young man looking for an apartment in France. When he finally finds one, he discovers that it is empty because the previous tenant, Simone Choule, attempted to kill herself by jumping out of the window. After Simone dies of the injuries, Trelkovsky begins to become obsessed with her, to the point of believing that her death was caused by the rest of the tenants in the building.
While sharing the same claustrophobic feeling of his other "apartment-themed" films ("Repulsion & "Rosemary's Baby"); this film focuses on the bizarre conspiracy that may or may not be entirely in Trelkovsky's head, the catastrophic effects the paranoia has on his mind, and the bizarre obsession he has with the previous tenant.
Trelkovsky's descend into darkness is portrayed perfectly by Polanski. While at first his performance seems odd and wooden, slowly one finds out that Polanski acts that way because Trelkovsky is meant to be acted that way; as a simpleton with almost no life, who traps himself in this maddening sub-world that happens to be inhabited by a collection of bizarre people. The supporting actors really gave life to the people in the building creating memorable characters that are very important for the success of the film.
Also, the beautiful cinematography Polanski employs in the film helps to increase the feeling of isolation, and gives life to the beautiful building that serves as cage for Trelkovsky. The haunting images Polanski uses to convey the feeling of confusion and madness are of a supernatural beauty that makes them both frightening and attractive.
If a flaw is to be found in the film, is that it is definitely a bit slow at first. this may sound like a turn-off but in fact the slow pace of the beginning works perfectly as it mimics Trelkovsky's own boring life and how gradually he enters a different realm. Also, the convoluted storyline is definitely not an easy one to understand due to the many complex layers it has. However, more than a flaw, it is a joy to face a thought-provoking plot like this one.
While "The Tenant" may not be for everyone, those interested in psychological horror and surreal story lines will be pleased by the experience. "Le Locataire" is really one of Roman Polanksi's masterpieces. 10/10
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