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 - Germany , France   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Director Andrzej Zulawski achieved his most widespread international success with this elliptical, allegorical tale of a disintegrating marriage and its grotesque byproducts. True to form, the director was able to coax deliciously unrestrained performances from Isabelle Adjani and the then-unknown Sam Neill as the bitter couple trapped in a torturous relationship. Zulawski's set-up is tantalizing: aided by the fluid, hypnotic camerawork of Bruno Nuytten, he uses the stark, oppressive cityscape of Berlin to mirror Neill's ever-increasing dread and discombobulation. Evoking elements of Vertigo (1958) and Repulsion (1965), Possession mixes the mundane with the shocking to create a compelling metaphor for the havoc that one man's obsession (and one woman's scorn) can wreak. Though the film's final act focuses on the more horrific elements of the tale -- namely, a bed-ridden, boyfriend-consuming creature which resembles a giant lower intestine, created by E.T.'s alien designer Carlo Rambaldi -- Zulawski never loses sight of the eerie, atmospheric qualities that elevate Possession above a mere genre film.