Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “Roman Holiday”


I’m trying to keep myself accountable this year to catching up to classics that I’ve embarrassingly never seen – The Apartment (swoon), Paths of Glory, The Conversation, more to come that have foolishly slipped through the cracks.

For this week’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot, we’ve been given the option of To Kill A Mockingbird or Roman Holiday to celebrate the 100th birthday of star Gregory Peck. Mockingbird was a childhood staple, so naturally I chose the unseen option from master director William Wyler for a little two bird, one stone. His everyman charm is on full display in Holiday, but Audrey Hepburn’s Oscar-winning princess is the one at center stage. The camera is fascinated by her, capturing every secret and momentary curiosity that tracks across her expressive face – with Peck being the plainspoken foil with secrets of his own.


If Peck takes a backseat in audience focus, it’s because his half of the love story lacks a personal arc that fuels the film like Hepburn’s Princess Ann. He’s falling in love with her, but her falling in love with him is only a piece to the larger puzzle of her self-actualization. It’s easy to imagine cinematographers Franz Planer and Henri Alekan (Oscar-nominated for their work here) relying heavily on the machinations of the star’s face given the quality of the performance at hand. Granted part of a cinematographer’s job is capturing performance, and they certainly know when to hold back and let the performer tell the story. As Ann enjoys the anonymity of Rome and enacts the whims she’d been refused by her position, Hepburn is staged more confidently in the frame while her body language becoming even more complex and nuanced.

However, the city begins to tell the love story.

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “Repulsion”

This week’s entry in Hit Me With Your Best Shot over at TheFilmExperience is just in time for Halloween! If you missed last week’s entry with A Room with a View, check out our submission here and see submissions from our pals across the web here!

Oh, where to start with Repulsion?


Filled to the brim with iconic imagery loaded with symbolic significance, Repulsion has reputation of skeezy elegance. Among it’s cinematic disciples are the filmography of David Lynch and Black Swan. Largely within the confines of an increasingly filthy and claustrophobic (though physically expanding) apartment, Catherine Deneuve’s French maiden cracks under the oppressive male gaze of the city, loosing every damn marble in the bag. Director Roman Polanski uses his elegant visual mastery and the iconic beauty of his muse to sophisticate an otherwise mangy exercise. Shot in a sweaty, bleeding black and white, the imagery is often as off-putting as it is compelling.

Finding a best shot in Repulsion wouldn’t require a deep dive. The film is packed with visual chutzpah and wizardry, each nightmare followed by another in rapid succession, almost as if the shocks are indifferent towards one another. Its visual devil box swings madly from the grotesque to the thematically disturbing to the dooziest of unexpected jump scares. With this much to choose from, “best” is a tough call. So… what did I choose?

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