Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Possession - 1981: Odd … DAMN Odd!

18th February, 2014.

You know, I like a film, now and again.

As anyone who’s followed me for some time will have no doubt noticed.

Some of the one’s I’ve seen over the years … ?

Have been fairly mainstream: some more than others.

Some … ?

Well, some have been downright obscure: although I’m not usually one for seriously way out films.

Exactly how one defines ‘way-out,’ sometimes, I really couldn’t tell you.   David Lynch’s Eraserhead, maybe — or his daughter, Jennifer Lynch’s, Chained — are usually as way-out as I get.

Saying that … ?

Saying that, I’ve managed to rent Andrej Zulawski’s 1981 film, Possession, tonight: turning out a possible stroll in the process.

Possibly a mistake.

Right now, I’m thinking Possession is possibly a little bit TOO odd for my tastes.


Set in cold war Berlin — complete with shots of the now gone WallPossession sees Sam Neill as Mark: a spy for an unidentified country operating in Berlin, and one who’s returned from a successful mission.

Only to find his wife, Anna — Isabelle Adjani — has been seeing someone else: and wants a divorce.

On top of that … ?

On top of that, Anna’s getting incredibly stressed: unbeknownst to Mark, she’s also getting rid of some bodies in her flat.   Mostly in order to seemingly feed the hideous, tentacled thing in the spare bedroom … 


Now … Odd … 

And all that that potentially implies … 

I have to admit, I had a free evening, tonight, and a little iTunes credit: and wasn’t actually texted about heading out, until partway through the film.

So, given I fancied a film, I  decided to checked on a list I’d initially come across, some time ago.

A list of horror films put together by Time Out magazine: something I’d originally looked at, in a hunt for film titles that I could settle in with, on an otherwise quiet night.

Combing through it … ?   I’d managed to find Possession, noticed it had Sam Neill in it, and that it had been on the Director of Public Prosecutions ‘Video Nasties’ list … and felt giving it a go, on that basis alone, would make for an interesting evening.

Actually, I think I can understand WHY it was on that list.

One scene sees the increasingly unstable Anna cut her throat with an electric carving knife.   Another sees Mark turning the gas oven on in a flat: letting the gas slowly fill the place.   Then laying a portable coffee boiler onto a box of matches.

With inevitable results.

We don’t want to give people ideas, now DO we … ?

So I can understand it being on that list.


But having grown up feeling that censorship was A Bad Thing … ?

Well, that made me all the keener to see films like Possession.

I’m not sure that impulse — in this case — got me renting a film was worth my while.

Oh, granted, it’s got an urgent, early 1980s, coolness to it: and Isabelle Adjani’s performance is  riveting, carrying much of the film.

But … ?

Well, to be frank, I found her performance the saving grace of an otherwise ok film.

One that I found not quite my taste.

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