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Possession (1981)

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1:57 | Trailer
A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.

Director:

Andrzej Zulawski

Writers:

Andrzej Zulawski (original screenplay), Andrzej Zulawski (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
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1,926 ( 303)
5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle Adjani ... Anna / Helen
Sam Neill ... Mark
Margit Carstensen ... Margit Gluckmeister
Heinz Bennent ... Heinrich
Johanna Hofer Johanna Hofer ... Heinrich's Mother
Carl Duering ... Detective
Shaun Lawton Shaun Lawton ... Zimmermann
Michael Hogben Michael Hogben ... Bob
Maximilian Rüthlein Maximilian Rüthlein ... Man with Pink Socks (as Maximilian Ruethlein)
Thomas Frey Thomas Frey ... Pink Sock's Acolyte
Leslie Malton Leslie Malton ... Sara, Woman with Club Foot
Gerd Neubert Gerd Neubert ... Subway Drunk
Kerstin Wohlfahrt Kerstin Wohlfahrt
Ilse Bahrs Ilse Bahrs
Karin Mumm Karin Mumm
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Storyline

During a secretive business trip away, Mark learns that his wife Anna is growing restless in what he believed was their happy marriage. Upon his return home, he learns from her that she wants a divorce. They both go through a series of different emotions related to their situation, Mark's which is generally obsessive about learning why Anna, who he still loves, wants the divorce, and Anna's which is generally increasingly histrionic in getting away from Mark. Caught in the middle is their infant son Bob, who Mark uses as a gage to Anna's mental state. Anna states that her want for the divorce is not because of another man, but Mark finds out that Anna has a lover named Heinrich. In the meantime, Mark also meets Bob's teacher Helen, who looks exactly like Anna, but is her polar opposite in temperament. Starting a relationship with Helen lessens his obsession with Anna. But as Mark and Anna's encounters together reach more emotional and violent levels, Mark, with help of a private ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Murder. Evil. Infidelity. Madness. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | West Germany

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

28 October 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Night the Screaming Stops See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,113,538

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,113,538
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There's a sample of the screaming (during the subway scene) included in the end of Poesie Noire's song, "Pity For The Self" (1989). See more »

Goofs

In the kitchen scene where Anna cuts herself with an electric knife, Mark picks it up and starts slicing his left arm multiple times. The next day, he is in the kitchen again with his sleeves rolled up, but there are no cuts on his arm. Given the surreal nature of this film, this could have been planned. The camera focuses on the supposedly sliced arm. One can only speculate what message was intended, if in fact the "gaff" was intentional. See more »

Quotes

Anna: Maybe this is something all couples go through.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was severely cut and re-edited for its American release - those versions vary from 81 to 97 minutes. The original is barely recognizable so try to catch the full version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fear, Panic & Censorship (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Like nothing you have EVER seen before
4 October 2007 | by YoooooofffffSee all my reviews

I'm not very good at plot synopsis, and I very rarely write reviews, but this film could quite possibly be a distant cousin to David Lynchs 'Eraserhead', in that it involves a marriage gone wrong, a (perhaps) mutant baby, infidelity, and so much more that is felt emotionally rather than explained and read into.

It contains the most OTT, eccentric, and brilliant performances I've ever seen, and you can't say that about many films, where the performances are unique and different. There's serious acting, hammy acting, B movie acting, serious/Oscar winning acting, comical acting, silent film acting, but never any acting like you have seen in this film. And I guess you could include David Lynch acting, as thats pretty unique too. And of course method acting.

Its like watching a theatrical play in cinematic form on acid. A lot of acid.

I showed this to my friend who has the darkest possible taste in films I've ever known, owns over a thousand dvds, and even he was blown away by the sheer chaos, resonant imagery, beautifully swift camera work and photography, and of course, the performances. Most notably Isabella Adjani who manages to be sexy and scary as hell at the same time. Her performance in this is monumental, especially the often noted 'underground menstruation' scene which could induce some viewers to a panic attack. I certainly nearly had one when I watched the film for the first time.

When a character has a breakdown in this film (both of the leads) its a REAL breakdown. And boy, do you ever feel it. Its realistic yet surreal. God knows how the director managed to coax these types of performances out of his actors. He must of drugged them or hypnotized them or something. He certainly didn't just yell 'action'.

The way the scenes are cut together is highly unusual and unconventional but it makes absolute perfect sense. I don't know how, it just does. I'm unfamiliar with the directors other work but if its even half as good as this I'll order everything I can get of his.

Recommended to any open minded individual who likes films that draw attention to themselves with an utter sense of uniqueness.


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