Skip to main content
A woman and man embracing awkwardly in an apartment.

Film

The Tenant

M

5 Nov - 17 Nov

Polanski cast himself in the central role of an unprepossessing office clerk in a darkly humorous psychological thriller that completes the ‘Apartment trilogy’ begun with Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby. Despite a less than encouraging encounter with the gruff concierge (a reliably off-beat Shelley Winters), Trelkovsky (Polanski) moves into a gloomy Paris apartment formerly occupied by a young Egyptologist named Simone who has barely survived a suicide attempt.

Tickets: Full $17. Concession $13. Member $10.
  • Finding himself at odds with his barely civil neighbours and boorish co-workers, Trelkovsky inexplicably begins to identify with Simone, even spending time with a friend of the young woman’s, Stella (Isabelle Adjani) who assumes Trelkovsky is a mutual friend. Unable to connect with Stella, he spirals deeper into alienation and delusion.

    Polanski’s signature themes and anxieties find full expression here: isolation, paranoia and a dread sense that people at heart are morally compromised. In the tone of the screenplay co-written by Polanski with frequent collaborator Gerard Brach – adapted from a novel by Roland Topor – and in Polanski’s own pitch-perfect performance, The Tenant is an accomplished work of macabre humour and unnerving tension. Director of Photography Sven Nykvist and composer Philippe Sarde contribute significantly to the film’s atmosphere of foreboding, with Melvyn Douglas most effective as Monsieur Zy, a landlord who evokes memories of Minnie and Roman Castevets, Mia Farrow’s on screen neighbours in Rosemary’s Baby.