There's Much More Going One Here Than You Think
Yeah, Possession. The First time I saw this film I was catatonic by the
end. My 3 friends and I talked about it so much we got 4 new friends to
watch it with us again. We continued discussing & 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, not as a catharsis for the director. Wake up my friends; not
everything in life fits in tidy packages or makes rational sense.
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, "Diabel" was essentially cut off from it's only
possible audience. He took a trip to France, ended up making a film and
then returned to his homeland. He worked on yet another film for two
years which the authorities did not allow him to finish. Since then he
has basically lived and worked successfully in France.
"Possession" is the first film he made immediately following the 2nd
incident in Poland. I read an interview where he talked about how his
personal identity was in crisis at the time due to his divorce and
being (for all intents and purposes) exiled from his homeland.
"Possession" is better described as 3 films in 1. The first part is
indeed a drama centering around a couple who's marriage is falling
apart. As their discord escalates, it becomes a horror film with some
scenes taking place only in the psyche of the wife. The last part is an
action film, driving the frenzied pace even higher through chase
There are many lines of dialog (especially in exchanges between Heinz
and Sam Neill) that were written as critique of his treatment by the
government of Poland. In many ways this film is an examination of the
internal landscape of Zulawski at that moment; divorced from his wife
and exiled by his beloved homeland. It's astoundingly dramatized
because he was probably on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and these
characters/actors are screamingly portraying every pent-up emotion he
wasn't allowed to say about Poland to his fellow countrymen. I love
this film. I love every gut wrenching, hysterical, chaotic minute of
it. Long live Zulawski..
best movie ever
i saw this movie in 1981, on its first release in the UK. a newspaper
review claiming that possession was the death of cinema attracted me to
the film. the utterly bemused faces of the audience, struck dumb by the
absurdist, expressionist visual feast they had witnessed was looked
upon knowingly by the cinema staff. a week later the film closed. i was
at every London screening for the next 10 years. it has been wonderful
to see this film's gradual acceptance by the critical
under-establishment. contemporary critics would call the film
valueless, except as weird travelogue and technical tour-de-force. i
always consider "top tens" as pretty facile exercises, however this
film surpasses and bypasses stereotypical classification. IT IS THE
BEST FILM EVER MADE...