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Possession [DVD] [1981]

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Product details

  • Actors: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Second Sight Films
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Oct. 2010
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003WUXJ2G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,644 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Beyond the realm of human desire there is a darkness ... A horror film like no other, Possession is an intense, shocking experience that was banned in the UK as a video nasty. With its dark subject matter and high gore quotient, it's not for the faint hearted. With their marriage in pieces 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 unaware of the demonic, tentacled creature that Anna has embarked on an affair with. The unhinged woman visits her monstrous lover in a deserted Berlin apartment and will stop at nothing to protect it. Written and directed by Andrzej Zulawski, Possession is a deeply unsettling experience, aided by the horrific effects of the great Carlo Rambaldi (Deep Red, Close Encounters, Alien). The film, though banned on video, was nominated for a BAFTA and the Palme d'Or and Adgani's astonishing performance earned her Best Actress awards at the Cannes Film Festival and the French Cesars. BONUS FEATURES include The Other Side Of The Wall (The Making Of Possession) & Interview with Andrzej Zulawski.


An unsung masterpiece ... The film that prefigures everything that's in antichrist --Mark Kermode

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Doc Benway on 17 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD
Possession is totally extraordinary.
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.

Highly recommended.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mr. K. Arts TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 31 July 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
In Possession, Sam Neill plays a Spy who has come back to west Berlin after spending some time on assignment on the other side of the Berlin Wall. Upon arriving home he finds his marriage is slowly disintegrating and his wife has taken up with a new man called Heinrich, a free-spirited libertarian. However, as he investigates he discovers there is another lover in the mix, and uncovers a dark secret that his wife has been keeping from both him and Heinrich. Her new lover isn't human and she will kill to protect it!.

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.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Now Zoltan on 2 Jun. 2010
Format: DVD
I'd love to know if David Lynch saw this film back in the early eighties and if so, what he made of it. I was struck by the amount of Lynchian tropes here - shifting identities, acting that veers from mannered to hysterical in an instant, disregard of narrative in favour of the symbolic, hell, even a pair of blue velvet curtains put in an appearance. As this was made in 1981, years before Blue Velvet and Lost Highway I figure it must have seeped into his subconscious somehow. I'm not complaining by the way, I love DLs films and I loved this, it looks amazing - brilliantly shot and hypnotic and it uses its Berlin setting wonderfully well. My only quibble - we could have lost some of the rambling, pretentious monologues and still retained the essential core weirdness of the film. Recommended (although not if you are seeking a gory horror - forget all that video nasty rubbish, the terror here is mainly of the cerebal variety)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Gardner on 25 Feb. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I like horror films. I rather enjoy 'video nasties' as they were called, though merely to laugh at what was considered the worst of the worst back in the day before internet access to anything... This film however wasn't like anything I'd expected. I thought it would be silly to watch, a mess of cheap gore and over acting. Instead it contains one of the most phenomenal - and disturbing! - performances I've ever seen. Isabelle Adjani quite simply goes insane. Her performance is riveting. I found my fists clenched on numerous occasions, near breathless at the sheer depths she must have delved to find such energy, such madness! Zulawski's direction - his use of tracking shots, relentlessly following his actors, keeping the camera right in their faces, pulling out the very last morsel - must have been a nightmare to contend with.

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!
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