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Possession (1981 film): Wikis


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original film poster
Directed by Andrzej Żuławski
Produced by Marie-Laure Reyre
Written by Frederic Tuten
Andrzej Żuławski
Starring Isabelle Adjani
Sam Neill
Music by Andrzej Korzynski
Cinematography Bruno Nuytten
Editing by Marie-Sophie Dubus
Suzanne Lang-Willar
Release date(s) May 27, 1981
Running time 97 Mins (edited version)
123 Mins (original cut)
Country France
West Germany
Language English
Gross revenue $1,113,538

Possession is a 1981 cult movie directed by Andrzej Żuławski.



Mark (played by Sam Neill) returns home to Berlin to find his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani) is leaving him for unclear reasons. He initially suspects an affair and hires detectives to track her, but gradually discovers clues that something far stranger is afoot. Instead, his wife leaves him and her lover, Heinrich (Heinz Bennent). What follows is a series of horrific, compelling and surreal events.


Movie background

It was filmed in Berlin, West Germany. The director has stated that he wrote the screenplay in the midst of a messy divorce. Viewers have found it difficult to properly classify it as drama, horror, or suspense, though elements of all three are present in the movie. Some reviewers have interpreted Possession as an intense drama focusing on the effects of marital problems and stress upon children.

The film was very controversial when first released and heavily edited for distribution in the United States. After an initial limited theatre release in the United Kingdom, Possession was banned as one of the notorious Video Nasties, although released uncut on DVD in 1999. It gradually developed a minor cult following among arthouse aficionados.

The film has been compared to David Cronenberg's The Brood (also made while the director was in the midst of a contentious divorce) and Ken Russell's The Devils.


In 1981, Isabelle Adjani won the award for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival.[1] Adjani also won the year's César Award for Best Actress for her performance in both Possession and Quartet.


The main item of controversy was the intense performance of Isabelle Adjani, who is seen in something akin to an epileptic seizure in a subway station tunnel as fluids ooze from her body. (Some have interpreted this as a miscarriage.) Her performance is harrowing and caused an outcry. In another scene, she is seen making love to a tentacled creature. All these scenes contributed to the dark and disturbing nature of the piece.

Notes of interest

Special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi assisted in creating the tentacle creature featured in the film.


External links



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