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Possession (1981)

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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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2,112 ( 645)
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:

She created a monster as her secret lover! 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

Opening Weekend USA:

$234,258, 16 October 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$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

The movie was a French-West German co-production shot in West Berlin, but it wasn't released in Germany until its DVD release in late 2009. 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: [to Zimmermann, about the creature] He's very tired. He made love to me all night.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Japanese version running time is 123 minutes See more »

Connections

Referenced in Irreversible (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

She's the maker of her own evil
3 July 2008 | by unbrokenmetalSee all my reviews

Surely other Zulawski movies like "La femme publique" and "L'important c'est d'aimer" have dark, disturbing moments, too, but "Possession" must be the most terrifying of them all. It all begins perfectly normal, like something that could happen every day, anywhere in your neighborhood: Anna (Adjani) leaves Mark (Sam Neill), she confesses she found a new lover already a year ago, and then the breaking up of their marriage naturally affects their little son, too. "I'm the maker of my own evil", Anna says once, and the evil she creates is visualized literally as a slimy demon, whereas Mark "creates" a school teacher looking exactly like Anna (and also played by Adjani), a woman so pure and innocent they go to bed together without having sex, and of course the idealized woman immediately takes care of his son ... and the dish washing ;-). The torment and hysteria of destroyed love is perfectly set in a Berlin before reunification, with the wall appearing countless times in the frame: an obvious symbol that divides what used to belong together, just like the characters in the movie. The "possessed" Adjani delivers an unforgettable performance, but if you are going to watch this, be prepared for more blood and guts than in "The Exorcist".


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