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Possession (1981)

Isabelle Adjani , Sam Neill , Andrzej Zulawski  |  R |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent, Johanna Hofer
  • Directors: Andrzej Zulawski
  • Writers: Andrzej Zulawski, Frederic Tuten
  • Producers: Marie-Laure Reyre
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • DVD Release Date: May 9, 2000
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305839980
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,831 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Possession" on IMDb

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A distorted look into the mirror of love-- a must! June 26, 2000
By Miguel
After many years of acquiring a cult status of mythical proportions, Zulawski's "Possession" finally comes to the viewers as it was originally supposed to be seen.
This is not an easy movie to see or to understand -- and I suppose it neither was easy to write or film. The characters are severely neurotic and seem to thrive on their bizarre behaviour (in more ways than one) yet they are somehow all too human. Like the movie ultimately suggests (once you get to see the secret trick the movie plays on the two leads), this story may be like looking into a mirror, though dark and distorted.
Meet Mark (Sam Neill), an overworked man with a mysterious job that takes him "to far away places". Meet his lovely wife, Anna (an overwhelmingly beautiful Isabelle Adjani), a sexually frustrated housewife and former ballet instructor who has much more than meets the eye going on for her.
Between quarrels and reconciliations, these two share a nice apartment in a quiet and well-to-do district of Berlin and have a five year old son, Bob, but they also share a horror that no one could have suspected, and that will make all their fantasies and nightmares come true.
After being brutally butchered by Vestron Video for its original release, "Possession" has been restored to its original lenght and sequence, therefore becoming coherent for the viewers who used to find it mind-numbingly strange.
I think of it as a very unique piece of craftmanship, part Ingmar Bergman drama, part Polanski suspense thriller, part Dario Argento gore, part Kubrick satire, part Buñuel surrealism and still somehow, very much its own.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's Much More Going One Here Than You Think April 21, 2005
By Sambson
Yeah, Possession. The First time I saw this film I was catatonic by the end. Three friends and I talked about it so much we got 4 new friends to watch it with us again. We continued marveling over it and watched it yet again on the third night (ten people this time). Why? Because this isn't really a horror film. Yeah, there's a "monster", but only in America would this get relegated to the "Horror" genre. Because here, we usually make films to fit in a box, follow a formula or entertain; whereas this one seems to be about catharsis for the director.

Several years ago there was an amazing fan site to this man's work (which doesn't seem to exist anymore) that went into infinite detail about his films and personal life. Suffice to say, there's much more going on here than you think.

During 1970's and 80's Poland, all films were approved by the Polish film commission and Zulawski's second film "Diabel" (1975) was banned. Made in Polish, it was essentially cut off from it's only possible audience. He took a trip to France, made his 3rd film and returned to his homeland to do the 4th. After two years work the authorities would not allow him to finish it. Since then he has lived and created successfully in France.

"Possession" is the first film he made immediately following the second incident in Poland; just as his marriage was dissolving, and is better described as 3 films in 1. The first part is a drama centered around a couple who's marriage is falling apart. As the discord escalates, it becomes a horror film with some scenes potentially taking place only in the psyche of the wife. The finale is an action film that drives the frenzied pace even higher through chase sequences.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like it in the whole world... April 25, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is absolutely the strangest, most disturbing thing ever made with a camera. It is the story of a man and woman who are having marital problems. She has been cheating on him, at first with a human, then with a thing that is definitely not a human (at first anyway). Her second lover turns out to be some kind of tentacled thing that likes to make a little love and eat a little flesh. Once the husband finds out about this, it's all downhill from there. "Possession" is a very surreal, deeply symbolic movie that will simultaneously creep you out, play with your head, make you want to vomit, and kickstart your imagination. It's set in Berlin, which gives it a somber, eerie feel to begin with. Sam Neill and Isabel Adjani both deliver stunning performances (especially in the infamous subway scene, which you'll never ever forget). The ending is very unsettling and completely unclear, yet it somehow works. Be patient with this movie and it will teach you a thing or two about the nature of guilt and what repressed emotions can do to a person's soul. A very powerful movie that should never be viewed in its edited version. Thank you, Anchor Bay, for re-releasing this jewel in its entirety.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What more can I say? July 13, 2004
You either love this film or you hate it. I write this review mostly to add five more stars to the ratings this film has recieved. There is not much more I can add to what the others have said. This film is a unique experience. By American standards, all the performances are grotesquely over-acted, but if this is pretentious, then I say bring on the pretense! Isabelle Adjani is wonderful to watch even in the calmer moments, and when she moves into High Historionics she is utterly unlike anything you have ever seen (and much more impressive than the monster). The film is not light entertainment, but deep catharsis, intended slap the viewer into satori, the Dionysian dream of an Apollonian chorus. Since viewing it, I have searched for anything by Zulawski I could get my hands on, and it has not been easy to find much. This is his only film in English, and much of his work has never even been released with English subtitles, much less in American formats. (Perhaps after the mutilation Possession recieved at the hands of Vestron, Zulawski did not want to release more of his films in the United States?)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing film...
"Possession"(1981) is directed by Andrzej Zulawski. This film, which defies typical categorization, blends domestic drama, horror, political intrigue, and sci-fi, into a story that... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Edmonson
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad reproduction
The rip of the video on this edition is pretty bad. The audio and video frequently go out of sync. It's borderline unwatchable. The movie itself is fantastic, though. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jason Eckelman
4.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling Flick Should be Avoided If You Are Pregnant
Possession was a video nasty. Sam Neill does a great job in this film. Possession is not exactly linear but it is a fascinating and disturbing journey into one woman's mind. Read more
Published 7 months ago by MacheteJason
5.0 out of 5 stars Possession is killer.
Andrzej Zulawski's Possession, is arguably a daring masterpiece, a modern horror-drama that has rarely been imitated and revered as an intimidating, gut-wrenching; at a few moments... Read more
Published 13 months ago by DeadandBuried81
5.0 out of 5 stars Insane
Well worth the money to see this demented yell-a-thon of a movie. Isabelle Adjani is gorgeous and Sam Neil's performance is perfect.
Published 14 months ago by Ricardo L Rodriguez
Published 14 months ago by Leopoldo
2.0 out of 5 stars Stay away, really, just dont....
I don't really know what to say about this movie other than it's not the worst movie I've ever seen, but it comes close. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Roger in PA
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of surrealism!
Possession is an example of how a horror film can be masterfully crafted and executed in a truly artistic sense. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Walter
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
I have no words to describe this film!! Never seen anything like it! A must see! Seen it on TCM Underground.
Published 21 months ago by Coffycakes
5.0 out of 5 stars My soul is bleeding...
While watching `Possession' I had this aching feeling that I was watching something truly conducive of everything that defines a true vision. Read more
Published on March 1, 2012 by Andrew Ellington
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