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A horror film like no other, Possession is an intense, shocking experience that was banned in the UK as a 'video nasty'. At Cannes Film Festival however the film was nominated for the palme d'Or and Isabelle Adjani won Best Actress for her mesmerising performance.
With thier marriage in pieves Anna and Mark's tense relationship has become a psychotic descent into screaming matches, violence and self-mutilation. Believing his wife's only lover is the sinister Heinrich, Mark is unare of the demonic, tentacled creature that Anna has hidden away for liasons in a deserted apartment and will stop at nothing to protect.
* Extensive bonus features:
The Otherside of the Wall: The Making of Possession
Audio commentary with director Andrzej Zulawski
Audio commentary with co-writer Frederic Tuten
Andrzej Zulawski interview
Repossessed: The film's UK and US reception, the 'video nasties' furore and the US recut
A Divided City: The Berlin locations
The Sounds of Possession: Interview with composer Andrzej Korzynski
Our Friend in the West: Interview with legendary producer Christian Ferry
Basha: Featurette on the artist who created the famed poster for the film.
Subtitles for Hearing Impaired: English
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
An Experience Like No Other --DVD Beaver
No Exorcist Can Handle Possession --rogerebert.com
No Exorcist Can Handle Possession --rogerebert.com
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Top Customer Reviews
Packed with symbolism it can be read on so many possible levels of interpretation it's bewildering.
Set in a European city (obviously Berlin during its partition) in an alienating mixture of ultra modern buildings and decaying grandeur, visually it evokes a sense of dislocation. The plot can't easily be summarised without foretelling too many of the surprises the film contains. Thematically, it seems to be a study of a marriage in the last phase of destruction, with Sam Neill returning from doing a mysterious job (spying?) and meeting his wife played by Isabelle Adjani, whose agitated reaction to his arrival only hints at the deep levels of disturbance she enacts as the film progresses.
What follows is a nightmarish and surreal two hours of startling images, bizarre acting and frequent bloodletting.
If you liked Antichrist you will be interested to see a lot of similar themes in Possession - misogyny, madness, faith, evil and lust permeate a fractured dreamscape with a sustained and unique oddness.
I was put in mind of J.G. Ballard, William Burroughs, Polanski, Cronenberg and David Lynch, but Zulawski's film is totally unique.
Possession was put on the banned list during the Video Nasties era, but don't come to it expecting anything like any of the more exploitation films I've seen off the DPP 39, Possession is as challenging an art-horror as I've ever seen.
It's curious that Second Sight decided to release this so close to David Cronenberg's THE BROOD The Brood (Blu Ray) [Blu-ray] Both films are about the disintegration of the nuclear family in a bitter divorce and both films have their lead female protagonist give birth to a metaphor made flesh. In the case of THE BROOD Samantha Eggar's character gave birth to a physical manifestation of her rage, in POSSESSION Isabelle Adjani gives birth to something with a more political context than the psychological one seen in the Cronsnberg film. Set in Berlin and featuring plenty of shots of the Wall, and the guards observing things through binoculars, the film is set in a city divided both physically and psychologically. In essence the city is as divided as the characters who bicker, scream and self-harm and show little awareness of the people around them. As things continue to fall apart in their private lives, and the characters grow ever madder and the plot gets stranger, we get the impression the world itself is falling to pieces.Read more ›
The film is filled with symbols. It has no clear story, seeming at its heart to explore the break down of a marriage, but there is a great deal simmering underneath, and too much to fully comprehend on a single viewing. I found the whole film so oddly disconcerting, and yet for no specific reason. Though bloody, there is nothing overtly over the top in the gore department, while the near instant shifts in Neal's and Adjani's acting, from stylised control, to absolute edge-of-your-seat hysteria is breathtaking. I'm sure this isn't a film everyone will warm to, but I most certainly did. I think the trick is to give up on finding meaning, and just sit back and be engulfed in a very strange experience!
A nerve-shredding study of paranioa, claustrophobia and the complete disintegration of a family, all set against the backdrop of a gloomy and sterile Berlin, will not be a clarion call to the tastes of many, but this visceral and explicitly violent drama boasts superb camera work, art direction and some of the best performances of its actors' careers. The pace may begin a little slowly, but the viewer cannot help but be drawn in to this increasingly terrifying and disturbing nightmare.
Sam Neill, in one of his early roles, is a perfect smouldering foil for the almost screaming-pitch performance from his screen wife Isabelle Adjani. Indeed Adjani's extreme hysteria and physical degredations are almost too exhausting to watch, but it's a testament to her commitment and acting ability that she is able to sustain such a degree of intensity through much of the film's running time. The revelation of the 'dark secret' which lies at the core of her madness, and its gruesome aftermath, has much in common with the metaphorical body-horror genre of films a la Cronenberg which were popluar at the time, but 'Possession' stands out from the rest for taking the concept and its explicit representations much further than the rest....!
The blu-ray disc offers a wondefully pristine widescreen print, highlighting the stark sterility of the environment and lending the gore a whole new level of intensity. There are some great extras too, lending insights into the film's production and reception.
Be warned though - this is the full uncut version and there are at least two sequences which many will find hard to watch. Pregnant women should definitely think twice before entering Adjani's world!!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Isabelle Adjani's career defining performance seems at moments to go beyond madness. Sam Neill willingly joins in with master artist Andrezej Zulawslki directing. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Elwyn Roberts
It is an arthouse movie, great over-acting, Lynch worthy incoherent plot...basically it is a director going through a messy divorce and he wants you to feel his pain with this... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Deniz Ozisik
A superb film that I thoroughly enjoyed. Sam Neill is excellent but this film's magic is entirely down to the mesmerising performance given by Isabelle Adjani in a truly amazing... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Alan. J. Reynolds
A couple's marriage is falling apart, meanwhile the wife is having an affair and is hiding a monstrous secret. Read morePublished 10 months ago by L.J.F.64
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