Possession (1981)

Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental  |   Sub-Genres - Surrealist Film, Marriage Drama, Supernatural Horror  |   Release Date - Oct 28, 1983 (USA)  |   Run Time - 123 min.  |   Countries - France, West Germany  |   MPAA Rating - R
  • AllMovie Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Usually misattributed to the horror genre, this challenging and highly unusual drama stars Isabelle Adjani as a young woman who forsakes her husband (Sam Neill) and her lover (Heinz Bennent) for a bizarre, tentacled creature that she keeps in a run-down Berlin apartment. In the beginning, her husband knows nothing about the monster and sincerely believes that his wife is insane. He has her tailed by private detectives, whom she kills and feeds to the creature. Still unaware of what has happened, the husband contends with the reserved and inadvertently seductive presence of his wife's look-alike (also played by Adjani), a schoolteacher who frequently comes to tutor his son while his wife is away. Though tempted by her quiet goodness and beauty, he is still passionately in love with his wife and even after he finds out about the murders, he stays by her side and helps her conceal her crimes. Filmed amidst the oppressive backdrop of the Berlin Wall by the expatriate Polish director Andrzej Zulawski (who was unable to work in his homeland after too many clashes with the authorities), the picture is so relentlessly intense and so deliberately esoteric, that most viewers would find it too hard to connect with. Still its symbolism, its unbridled and flashy directorial style, and the tour de force performance by Isabelle Adjani earned this unique tale a cult following in Europe. The version originally released in the U.S. had 45 minutes chopped out; in this form, it is barely comprehensible and looks like a cheap, gory feast.

Characteristics

Moods

Keywords

marital-problems, demonic-possession, wife, extramarital-affair, monster, apartment, doppelganger, private-detective, schoolteacher

Attributes

Cult Film, High Artistic Quality