The Tenant (1976)

R   |    |  Drama, Thriller


The Tenant (1976) Poster

A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia.


7.7/10
39,289


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  • Roman Polanski in The Tenant (1976)
  • Roman Polanski in The Tenant (1976)
  • The Tenant (1976)
  • The Tenant (1976)
  • Roman Polanski and Sven Nykvist in The Tenant (1976)
  • The Tenant (1976)

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17 January 2005 | dr_foreman
9
| ah...feel the alienation
I once lived with a roommate who attempted suicide, and our apartment was in a building where you could get a fifty dollar noise violation for sneezing after midnight - so, needless to say, I can easily relate to Polanski's "The Tenant."

But I also enjoy the film for other reasons. I'm not sure that it works, on the whole - the Polanski character's descent into paranoia and madness, which takes up the final half hour or so, seems rather jarring and bizarre. Ebert, for one, was totally unconvinced, and he slapped the movie with a vicious one-star review. But I think that individual scenes and moments work beautifully, so even though I don't quite understand the whole film - what does Egyptology have to do with it, for example? - I still have an overall positive impression of it.

I love the obnoxious friend portrayed by Bernard Fresson, for example. God, how many times have I settled for having stupid friends like that instead of no friends at all! I love the movie theater scene - the funniest "making out" moment in the history of film, I'd say. And boy, do I love Isabelle Adjani - she's so foxy in this movie, it's almost unbelievable. And she gives a great performance, as always.

Polanski is a good actor, too; I don't agree with the occasional disparaging remarks made about his performance here. His character is supposed to be low-key and thoughtful, so his low-key performance fits. I, for one, found him perfectly sympathetic - though he did lose me a bit when he started dressed in drag for no clearly discernible reason.

Yes, the movie's obscure. And slow. But it captures the alienating qualities of apartment living - something I've done entirely too much of - so I dig it. It's funny how all you need is a common reference point, and suddenly a weirdo movie like this becomes deeply significant! Definitely worth picking up for pocket change on DVD.

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