– THE DIRECTOR’S CUT
Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Heinz Bennent
of David Cronenberg will love Possession, an intense, dreamlike
drama about sexual obsession, infidelity, oh, and a horrific, multi-tentacled
monster! The 1981 film, a French / West German production shot in
English, has had a turbulent history on both sides of the Atlantic. Here
it got unjustly tangled up in the “video nasties” furore, and ended
up on the Department of Public Prosecutions’ list of banned titles. In
the US the film was cut by about forty minutes (almost a third of its
running time) by an indifferent distributor, who, in attempting to
straighten out its non-linear plot, effectively scrambled the film.
is a film ripe for critical reappraisal. Adjani, probably best known
to horror genre fans as Lucy Harker in Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu
– Phantom Der Nacht, gives an outstanding, unhinged
performance that won her the Best Actress award at the 1981 Cannes Film
Festival and a Cesar award. Zulawski was nominated for the Golden Palm
at Cannes, and won the Critics Award at the Sao Paolo Film Festival.
Anchor Bay’s new DVD version restores the film to its original length,
and comes with a director’s commentary track and two trailers. An
essay on the disc insert summarises some of the differences between the
American version and the Director’s Cut. The film is presented in a
very mild (1.66:1) ratio, enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The print is a little
marked here and there, but is surprisingly sharp and vibrant. The sound
is mono, but has good range and clarity.