Possession (1981) (1981)
February 13, 2018 4:04 PM - Subscribe

A spy begins a difficult breakup with his wife in West Berlin, in this hard-to-categorise horror / psychological thriller / drama. This cult French-German "video nasty" was Andrzej Żuławski's only English-Language film, and stars Isabelle Adjani, who won several awards for the role - including Best Actress at Cannes - along with a young Sam Neill.

Possession has been discussed on the Blue before, on the occasion of the director's passing. [Spoilers, although lots of interesting links in the post and thread.]
posted by chappell, ambrose (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I also think that there's a nod to the film in Children of Men - and this seems like just the kind of obscure movie that an old hippy stoner like Jasper might have watched - but it may be a coincidence!
posted by chappell, ambrose at 4:07 PM on February 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

this is one of my all-time top 5 faves. possibly even top 3.
i think of it often of late, as the monster's horrible little mouth is just like trump's.
posted by lapolla at 5:51 PM on February 13, 2018

This is a bit tangential, but the video for the Massive Attack/Young Fathers song Voodoo In My Blood is an homage to the subway scene from Possession. The video came out less than a week after Żuławski passed, and is a pro effort, so I assume that the timing was coincidental, although I don't know that for sure.
posted by talking leaf at 8:25 PM on February 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

That’s a great song and the video is a minature horror movie in itself.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:51 AM on February 14, 2018

That video seems at least as much an homage to Phantasm. Really cool.

I saw Possession for the first time about fifteen years ago, when I found a DVD set of it and Mario Bava's Shock at a secondhand store. I hadn't seen either film, and hadn't even heard of Possession. I was in no way prepared. I'm not sure when or how it has since become a mini-phenomenon -- I know that TCM sometimes plays it late at night, and there's an (I think) unofficial Crystal Castles video that sets "Plague" over the vomiting scene, but I'm not sure what initially put it on modern film hipster radar. It sure belongs there, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:55 PM on February 15, 2018

I rented it from my local video shop in Edinburgh - now sadly departed, and I see from StreetView that it's now been replaced by a quite cool looking robotics start-up.

I foisted Oldboy, Bad Lieutenant (the original) and Dead Man's Shoes on my flatmates when it was my turn to pick a film to watch, after which I lost my film-choosing privileges.

But I could still rent films to watch with my girlfriend! I asked the proprietor what horror films he would recommend, and he suggested Uzumaki, Repulsion... and Possession.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:08 AM on February 19, 2018

I wish there were a way to push an old post to the top of the Fanfare page! What alchemy took place to make this happen I do not know, but if you somehow are reading this in 2023 and want to watch this film, it is streaming on Shudder/AMC+.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:42 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

Joe Bob Briggs of The Last Drive In just showed this two nights ago. The. movie with commentary is four hours long and absolutely enthralling.

Apparently the instructions Zulawski gave to Isabelle Adjani during the famous subway scene was to "Fuck the air."
posted by miss-lapin at 10:41 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]

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