Review: ‘Possession’

Possession starts on a hysterical note, stays there and surpasses it as the film progresses. There are excesses on all fronts: in supposedly ordinary married life and then occult happenings, intricate political skulduggery with the infamous Berlin Wall as background - they all abound in this horror-cum-political-cum - psychological tale.

Possession starts on a hysterical note, stays there and surpasses it as the film progresses. There are excesses on all fronts: in supposedly ordinary married life and then occult happenings, intricate political skulduggery with the infamous Berlin Wall as background – they all abound in this horror-cum-political-cum – psychological tale.

Sam Neill, New Zealand actor, returns home after a long absence. He has been on some sort of secret mission. After an ambiguous report to a commission he goes home to find his wife (Isabelle Adjani) acting strangely.

Neill hires a detective who tracks Adjani to an old house and a strange apartment. The detective gains entry and sees some sort of monster [special effects by Carlo Rambaldi] before Adjani slashes his throat with a broken bottle. Another sleuth gets the same treatment, and a bizarre mass of entrails encompass the men after they are killed.

Adjani is game as she plays the deranged, obsessed woman in high gear throughout. Pic’s mass of symbols and unbridled, brilliant directing meld this disparate tale into a film that could get cult following on its many levels of symbolism and exploitation.

Possession

France - W. Germany

Production

Oliane/Marianne/Soma. Director Andrzej Zulawski; Producer Marie-Laure Reyre; Screenplay Andrzej Zulawski, Frederic Tuten; Camera Bruno Nuytten; Editor Marie-Sophie Dubus; Music Andrzej Korzynski; Art Director Holger Gross

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 127 MIN.

With

Isabelle Adjani Sam Neill Heinz Bennent Margit Carstensen Michael Hogben
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