I Do Movies Badly: Possession by · January 9, 2021 In the pantheon of IDMB movies that have befuddled me, there’s Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Mirror, Kim Ki-duk’s The Isle, and now, there’s Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession. Related Posts:Home Video Hovel: Bergman Island, by Rudie ObiasAttachment: Doublets, by Rudie ObiasBP Movie Journal 12/15/22Wrapping Up 2022 in Movies and Other Stuff You Might Have…Rudie's Top Ten Films of 2022Episode 822: Christmas Movie MemoriesBP Movie Journal 1/5/23BP Movie Journal 1/26/23 Share
Possession is perhaps my favorite horror film, and really served as my gateway to the artier sorts of horror (although I can’t remember if it was the dream sequences in Excision which led me to it or the other way around), resulting in it becoming my favorite genre. I don’t understand Mark’s job, or the purpose socks, or the possible apocalypse(?) at the end, but for me that doesn’t prevent the film from being enjoyable. It’s not like Marienbad where I get nothing at all from the film, and I didn’t experience it as a Haneke-esque provocation of the audience. Zulawski isn’t smirking while he makes this as a provocation, he made it for personal reasons but (in my view, and that of the many fans you reference) he transformed that into a form others could enjoy. Zulawski presumably felt blindsided by the dissolution of his marriage, and Mark similarly finds it incomprehensible. Since he’s a secret agent rather than a director and one can assume the real Zulawski wouldn’t be willing to go to such extremes, there’s a rather different result, and that works for movies because we want to see extreme situations. What I like about horror is that directors can go places and do things that wouldn’t be permitted in other genres, and this is really a prime example. The subway sequence with Isabelle Adjani alone is stupendous, really one of my favorite scenes ever filmed. As with Mark using a rocking chair with such intensity that he keeps going in and out of the frame, this would be considered “too much” in a drama aiming at realism, but in an expressionist artwork like “The Scream” such extremity can work perfectly well.