Director: Andrzej Zulawski

Starring: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Heinz Bennent

Fans 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.

Possession 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.






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