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Teeth Smile (1957)

Usmiech zebiczny (original title)
A man walks down the exterior staircase of building of flats; he's dressed to go out, taking care to wrap a scarf around his neck. He pauses as he passes a small window that's about eye ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Nikola Todorow ...
Man in window
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Storyline

A man walks down the exterior staircase of building of flats; he's dressed to go out, taking care to wrap a scarf around his neck. He pauses as he passes a small window that's about eye high. He ventures to look in, and there a young woman stands at a washbasin, drying her hair, the towel that obscures her face her only covering. The peeping tom gets an eyeful and smiles; he's interrupted by a door opening, the flat's occupant bringing out empty bottles to place on the porch. The man pretends to leave, departing down the stairs, only to return to the window after the flat's door has closed. He again looks in the window, where a surprise awaits. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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November 1988 (Italy)  »

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Teeth Smile  »

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In his autobiography, Roman Polanski says that the theme was set for him by a supervisor at film school). See more »

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User Reviews

 
An excellent preview of great things to come.
4 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An early short, very obviously a student effort, "Teeth Smile" offers an excellent view of the genius that marks the rest of Polanski's film career, as well as demonstrating many of the visual characteristics that he has maintained throughout. The dramatic use of lighting, shadows and sharply contrasting, asymmetrical shapes that create a surrealistic feeling to a natural setting, the claustrophobic lives of urban apartment dwellers who's privacy is insecure and violated, the odd camera angles that distort the audience's perception and reflect the distortion of the character's mind, and the sexual tension and suspense in fear of discovery are all very apparent here.

The lead character becomes an inadvertent voyeur, and then a willing one, and the audience is seduced as a co-conspirator. We are drawn to the window and enter into his perversion--the teeth of the title smile, but what is revealed in the eyes is something altogether different.

When discovery is imminent, the audience is caught with the same panicked emotions of the voyeur, and yet what ultimately prevails is the humor which in so many of Polanski's films is under-appreciated. This movie struck me as quite funny, one of his more successful efforts in the field of comedy, and it is this surprising contrast as well as the explorative stylization that I find most endearing in this short.

Availible with the Critereon edition DVD of "Knife in the Water", I believe "Teeth Smile" deserves a much wider viewing by film lovers everywhere.


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