Possession (1981) UK Blu Ray Review

possession cover

The only film to have earned both a Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival and a place on the Video Nasties list during the mid 80’s fiasco, Possession is a film that is not easy to catagorise or describe without giving away plot points.

The plot revolves around a married couple and the emotional break-up of their relationship. Mark (Sam Neil) and Anna ( Isabelle Adjani) argue over each other’s infidelity, the love of their child and the grim world that surrounds them. Naturally, Mark thinks that she has been unfaithful to him even though she totally denies it. He doesn’t believe her and sends a private investigator to follow her and see what they can uncover. As they say, sometimes some things are better left unknown.

Many critics praise the film for its unorthodox approach to the subject matter or that the film could be seen as a metaphor for women’s liberation, the battle between the sexes, idealization of one’s lover, faith vs. fate and/or a political statement. Sorry but you will get no such highbrow comments from me.  Possession may be a very personal piece for director  Zulawski, a cathartic movie that helped him to come to terms with his own political and marital status but i found it nothing but a slow moving, over acted, depressing and at times pretentious piece of cinema. Its not really a horror film as such, but blood and gore do make an appearance and Carlo Rambaldi’s make up creature effects are amazing and disturbing.

Second Sight in the UK have released the film onto Blu ray for the first time anywhere and fans of the film will be very happy indeed. The remastered image is near perfect, There is an entirely new colour balance to the film that apparently reinstates the type of look the director desired and all visual effects, most notably certain enhancements, that were added to the U.S. re-cut version of the film are now completely removed. Audio is also very good, the English LPCM 1.0 mono track is clear and very powerful as many mono tracks can be.

Second Sight have gone all out for the special features which are:

‘THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL’
Very good featurette on the making of Possession
• AUDIO COMMENTARIES:  Andrzej Zulawski commentary and also a new commentary with co-writer Frederic Tuten.
‘REPOSSESSED’ The film’s UK and US reception, the ‘video nasties’ uproar and the US recut version explained.
‘A DIVIDED CITY’ The Berlin locations in the film
‘THE SOUNDS OF POSSESSION’ An exclusive interview with composer Andrzej Korzynski about his working relationship with Andrzej Zulawski
‘OUR FRIEND IN THE WEST’ An exclusive interview with legendary producer Christian Ferry
‘BASHA’ A new featurette on Polish artist Barbara ‘Basha’ Baranowska, who created the famed poster for Possession.
• THEATRICAL TRAILER
• ANDRZEJ ZULAWSKI INTERVIEW
Fans of the film, of which there are many, should buy this disc as the presentation and extra’s are first class.
REGION B LOCKED.
FILM: 4 OUT OF 10
PICTURE: 8 OUT OF 10
SOUND: 7 OUT OF 10
EXTRAS: 8 OUT OF 10