Year – 1981
Decade – 1980s
Director – Andrej Zulawski
Cinematographers – Bruno Nuytten
Aspect Ratio – 1.66
Genre – Horror
Lenses – spherical
Format – 35mm
Other Key Words –Video Nasties; Close-Ups; Phone Calls; Shot/Reverse Shot
Both halves of an expatriate married couple (Sam Neill, Isabelle Adjani) start to lose their minds when the relationship crumbles. Penned by Polish director Andrej Zulawski amid his own divorce, Possession is a singular piece of surreal bat shit craziness. It’s difficult to categorize, but if I had to classify it based on which section of the video store it would’ve resided in, I’d go with horror by virtue of its murders and its tentacle monster. Set and shot in West Berlin, the movie was one of the original 72 genre flicks on the British censors’ list of “Video Nasties.”
Director Andrej Zulawski on Possession, from a 2012 interview in Film Comment
Possession was born of a totally private experience. After making That Most Important Thing in France, I went back to Poland to get my family (which at the time was my wife and my kid) and bring them to France. I had two or three interesting proposals to make really big European films. But when I returned to Poland I saw exactly what (Sam Neill’s character) in Possession sees when he opens the door to his flat, which is an abandoned child in an empty flat and a woman who is doing something somewhere else.
Groups of Frames
Possession’s piece de resistance is this nearly three minute subway freakout by Adjani. The scene is comprised of three long, handheld shots.
The blog’s collection of frame grabs is still brand new, but this might be the only flick that will ever warrant its own “crazy faces” section.