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Possession 18 rating

Andrzej Zulawski’s out-of-control horror masterpiece is one of cinema’s most bare-souled and open-veined accounts of a broken relationship.

Horror 1981 124 mins

Director: Andrzej Zulawski



Mark (Sam Neill) sends a private detective to follow his wife (Isabelle Adjani) suspecting her of having an affair, but the horrors are far worse than he imagines after it’s revealed her lover is a strange tentacled creature.

If this synopsis seems strange enough it can’t do justice to a wild, careering story that presents a hyper-real allegory on fidelity and identity. It’s also dense with political and literary allusions – a tale of Dostoevskyian doppelgangers set in the divided city of Berlin. The relentless energy of Zulawski’s prowling camerawork is matched in kineticism by Adjani’s thoroughly demented performance, which earned her a best actress award at Cannes. Completing the film’s bizarre backstory, Possession also found itself ill-fittingly included on the infamous ‘video nasty’ list of outlawed cassettes in the early 1980s. With creature effects by the Oscar-winning creator of E.T, Carlos Rambaldi, Possession is filmmaking at its most frenzied, fraught and furious. Ranked joint 243th in the 2022 Sight and Sound Great Films of All Time poll