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This review is from: Possession [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
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. It's also worth noting director Zulawski made this film after the sudden ending of his marriage (his wife ran of with a man named Heinrich) and the ending of his last film at the hands of Poland's Communist government so there is a strong element of autobiography to the film as well.
So then, anyone who says that horror films can't be intelligent or have anything to say about the world should really be directed to this wonderful and strange movie that sits nicely on the shelf next to the works of Jodorowsky, Lynch and Cronenberg. Previously banned in the United Kingdom by idiots who didn't really 'get' it. The film is now out on Blu-ray from second sight with a wealth of extras including two commentary tracks, a 51 minute making of, interviews and more. For the most part the picture quality is excellent, there is some 'noise' however in some of the darker scenes that gets quite noticeable, it doesn't look like DNR as there's plenty of detail in the image. I suspect it may be due to the source material showing it up in HD but i'm sure someone more knowledgeable than me might have an answer.
Overall though it's the best release of the film to date. I have the Anchor bay US release and the previous Second sight DVD release and this is still a noticeable step up from those. If you have not seen the film yet I urge you to buy it immediately and watch it. It's a genuinely brilliant slice of cinema. It nearly won at Cannes, and Isabelle Adjani won for her insane and over the top performance which was criticized by some critics but suits the tone of the film perfectly.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Aug 2013 10:38:49 BDT
Thank you for your great review. I saw the film when it was released in the 80's and I have been waiting for the US Mondovision upcoming release supervised by Zulawsky himself but this new UK release sounds fine. A frame was banned in previous DVD releases which shows a pair of eyes Adjani sees in the slime of her miscarriage in the subway scene. Can you tell us if this missing frame has been reinserted for this bluray release?
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2013 10:41:54 BDT
I don't remember seeing that shot, will have to re-watch it to see if I missed it!.
As you can tell I really like the film, so may check out that US release, so thanks for the tip-off!!
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2013 11:29:38 BDT
Wow thanks for the quick reply! Yes Possession is a cult classic with a huge amount of fans around the world. I was hoping the quick frame banned by some "Idiots" as you say might be reinserted in this bluray release although it's a one or two second frame that can be easily missed at the blink of an eye!
The Mondvision edition in the US has been in the making for some time now but its release is imminent now and it will certainly add some new extras and a top notch transfer as I said supervised by Zulawsky. I am getting both editions to make sure I don't miss anything!
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2013 14:34:19 BDT
Cool, thanks for the info. I'm going to probably stump out the cash for that US release as well!
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2013 08:56:25 BDT
D. T. Bird says:
Both the Second Sight and the forthcoming Mondo Vision releases originate from the same transfer. The colour grading of both releases was supervised and approved by Zulawski (albeit independently). Second, the 'eyes in hands' was never cut as it did not feature in Zulawski's director's cut. However, if you look closely in the 'Repossessed' featurette you'll find it there.
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2013 09:04:24 BDT
Thanks for the info!
Can you shed any light on what film stock Possession was shot on? Strange request perhaps but given SecondSights amazing track record with Blu-ray releases (one of the best companies going imo) the 'fuzziness' (for want of a better word, perhaps 'noise' might also apply) must be down to the source material. Forgive the vague terminology as i'm not an expert in these things (but keen to learn)
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2013 17:26:22 BDT
D. T. Bird says:
The source was a HD telecine from the original camera negative - the 'noise' in the dark scenes is down to the film stock used in the 80s and isn't a fault of the transfer, so yes, it is part of the original film. Obviously, the noise could have been removed, but that would have resulted in a loss of sharpness. Of course, it is down to personal taste, but I think it is better to have a feeling for the film grain.
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2013 18:09:23 BDT
Thanks for the response. I totally agree here, i'd rather the 'noise' than the excessive waxiness of a DNR job. I'm not a total DNR-phobe, it has its uses, but I totally agree the approach taken here is preferable!
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Aug 2013 00:45:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Aug 2013 00:45:40 BDT
Thank you very much for the information D.T. Bird
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