Knife in the Water (1962)

My second Polanski film, and it wasn’t my choice. But I’m glad it was my second one. A few years ago I watched my first Polanski film, Chinatown (1974), opting for some quality Jack Nicholson time instead of studying for the next day’s Algebra 2 & Trig test. (Surprisingly I got an A on that test; what does that say?) 

Ohio State’s Film Studies major requirements include a Senior Seminar. After finally finishing up my undergraduate thesis on the women in Robert Altman’s 1970s film, I wanted a somewhat relaxing final semester and take classes I enjoyed. But then I saw it, this semester’s Senior Seminar: The Cinema of Roman Polanski. 

Really? I just finished writing a thesis on the New Hollywood maverick I found to be the most consistently feministic and now I have to take a course on perhaps one of the darkest directors of the period? Needless to say I was not excited. But hey, it’ll add to my knowledge of the period.

After the first few assigned readings and the introduction to the course, I knew I was not going to be a Polanski fan. We will see what the rest of the semester brings, but for now, I sort of enjoyed Knife in the Water (1962). 

The reason I enjoyed it though had more to do with the mise-en-scene than anything else. In contrast to the film’s psychological, the setting was so peaceful and relaxing that I wanted to jump in the screen and hop on board with them! (That is until they start arguing and I realize who I am with.) 

Other than that, the film seemed more interested in proving one’s masculinity to another more than anything else. And that’s something I could really care less about. The wife hardly talks but when she does, it can be interesting. I remember something along the lines of, “You want to stay up and study but your roommates want to turn out the lights.” Having seen her husband call her a whore, you’d think she wouldn’t have been a serious student.

But overall I didn’t think the film was terrible, but it wasn’t my favorite. 6/10


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