EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|POSSESSION (aka: THE NIGHT THE SCREAMING STOPS) (director/writer: Andrzej Zulawski; screenwriter: Frederic Tuten; cinematographer: Bruno Nuytten; editors: Marie-Sophie Dubus/Suzanne Lang-Willar; music: Andrzej Korzynski; cast: Isabelle Adjani (Anna/Helen), Sam Neill (Marc), Heinz Bennent (Heinrich), Margit Carstensen (Margie), Michael Hogben (Bob), Shaun Lawton (Zimmerman), Johanna Hofer (Heinrich's mom), Carl Duering (Detective), Maximilian Ruethlein (Man with pink socks); Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Marie-Laure Reyre; Anchor Bay Entertainment; 1981-France/West Germany-in English)|
|"Uncompromising demented cult oddity."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Self-exiled Russian-born Polish director Andrzej
("Fidelity"/"The Third Part of the Night"/"The Silver Globe"), left
Poland after clashes
over his work with commie authorities prevented him from working, helms
uncompromising demented cult oddity. It's a confusing highly symbolic
arty/grindhouse surreal supernatural horror
pic that's stylish but too weirdly abstract to connect what exactly was
the political message and what was meant by all those Freudian id
symbols conjured up, which didn't stop it from receiving in some
circles a nod in its favor for being so heady and bizarre (the film's
co-star, the talented raised in New Zealand Sam Neill, said it was his
favorite film that he was in). It features a divided Berlin represented
by repeated background shots of the Berlin Wall, a nasty marriage
breakup due to
adultery, insanity, ghastly murders, the main characters cloned and the
heroine having a messy miscarriage in a deserted subway station and
later giving birth to a tentacled
octopus-like monster (created by Carlo Rambaldi) and still later she
fucks this octopus-like creature. If one is to understand this film of
excesses, they might be helped to know that it was written by Zulawski
after the breakup in his marriage.
Secret agent Marc (Sam Neill) returns
to his Berlin home, near the Wall, from a mission with double-agents
and learns his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani) has left him for the obnoxious
self-help Zen-like Heinrich (Heinz Bennent). The breakup
leaves their young son Bob (Michael
the care of the unstable clubfooted hooker friend of the couple's,
The distraught Marc gets his ass kicked when he visits Heinrich's
apartment he shares with his elderly mom and attacks him. Marc has lost
his will to live and decides to completely abandon his son, but misses
wifey so much he has a complete nervous breakdown. Wifey also cracks,
becoming volatile, hysterical and violent. She also abandons the
conceited know-it-all Heinrich, and takes a secret apartment on her own
to live with a monster she gave birth to. Hubby hires a pair of gay
private detectives to locate his missing wife's whereabouts and who she
is living with. When they locate her living with a monster, they are
brutally slain in the apartment.
Americans and Brits found it too obscure and too nasty a gore fest, and
for the most part hated it (during the eighties it was banned in
England); while in France and among arthouse and grindhouse geeks, it
was met with acclaim as a possible minor masterpiece. The subjective
work weird-ed me out and left me more baffled than entertained, as it
never let go of the pedal in this one-note absurdist shocking look at a
broken-relationship. It's the kind of horror pic that makes Polanski's
Repulsion (1965) and The Tenant (1976) seem sane in comparison (strange
psychological films that I preferred to this nutty one).
hysterical weirdo performance earned her the Palm D’Or for Best Actress
Award at Cannes.
REVIEWED ON 11/13/2010 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ