Sunday, 21 February 2016


Just fresh from a very belated revisit to Andrzej Zulawski's 1981 film Possession, not having seen it in perhaps 10 years (and I must presume likewise for Bava's Shock, on the flipside of the Anchor Bay disc). There was some trepidation on my part about seeing the film again, I remember it well as an abrasive, exhausting experience, but 10 years later (and 10 years of marriage later), the film remains utterly astonishing. Adjani and Neill's contribution to the film (to call them performances seems inadequate somehow) are truly extraordinary, perhaps even possessed of madness - Neill is so ferocious in the sequence where he charges after Adjani in the restaurant, he almost crashes a chair down upon an extra, and Adjani, in her celebrated scene in the subway, gives of herself perhaps more than any director has the right to ask for - I wonder what cameraman Bruno Nuytten felt as he saw his lover disintegrate before his eyes. One isolated screening doesn't allow me offer any profound insights on the film - multiple viewings are required I suspect to unravel its secrets (some of them unknowable I imagine) but two incidental details to note - one of composer Andrzej Korzyński's cues sounds remarkably like Michael's Theme from The Godfather melded with the Erbarme Dich aria from Bach's St Matthew Passion, and a few lines of dialogue from the film were sampled by the Front Line Assembly side project Noise Unit, appearing on the 1989 track Dry Lungs ("Oh yes, I see... Darkness is easeful. The temptation to let go, promises so much comfort after the pain"), finally solving a mystery that has dogged me for years...

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