There is something of the Harlequin about Roman Polanski. I had read the reviews about it being the disappointing follow-up to Chinatown. I might have been disappointed too, if Chinatown was all I had known of Polanski. The Tenant is a little disjointed, and doesn't have a full baked appearance. But what about the images? A football turning into a severed head, drawing the protagonists attention to what looks like a lynching, or a trip to the Guillotine going on down in the courtyard below. Then there is the reversal of Rear Window where the neighbours become the spectators instead of the spectacle. I get the feeling that making this film was an intensely personal experience for Roman Polanski. It can be viewed as the second incarnation of Repulsion. I think this is substantially better. Stylistically The Tenant lacks polish, but so what? Polanski seems to be exorcising his demons, something he does with great dignity and humour while remaining on the dead-pan side of farce. When he cries while being mothered by Isabelle Adjani, you get the sense it is Polanski who is crying. And when a short while later he rips up her photo-album you get the feeling it is for her sake, not because he really believes she is part of a conspiracy, but to prevent her from being caught up in the hell in which he is trapped. You have to love a director who consistently throws an affectionate light on wretched characters like this. Polanski isn't a detached intellectual. Like the Harlequin he is a bit feral, full of peasant cunning, but important nonetheless.