For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
4.2
3,278 Ratings

Possession

Directed by Andrzej Żuławski
France, West Germany, 1981
Drama, Horror, Mystery
  • English
  • No subtitles

Synopsis

A spiral staircase movie, a never-ending metaphysical game of cat-and-mouse, a moral aspiration to the Heavens, a “spotlight” on God, a scornful detective movie, a horror movie and frightful, high-octane baroque work—Possession is all of that at once.

Our take

Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill square off in this legendary cult film from Polish visionary Andrzej Żuławski, a maddening psychological horror that explores, in bloody detail, the breakdown of a marriage. For her work, Adjani won the Best Actress prize at both Cannes and the Césars.

Possession Directed by Andrzej Żuławski

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1981 | Winner: Best Actress

São Paulo International Film Festival

1981 | Winner: Critics Award

César Awards

1982 | Winner: Best Actress

CPH PIX

2011

What are people saying?

  • Cătălin, HiperCristalin's rating of the film Possession

    Men should be MASCULINE, which is opposite to NATURE, nature always changes, but what does not change is the CONSCIOUS state of ETERNITY. The masculine is ETERNITY. Like the stars and their constellations, they are FIXED. NATURE cannot be nature without the FIXED STATE of the Cosmos. A woman is like NATURE, she always changes in emotions, constantly. But a man should be like the SUN..... Just kidding. KILL THE BITCH.

  • Warren Spratley's rating of the film Possession

    360 degree tracking, harsh lateral camera movements, imposing performances, discordant dialogue. Cold War business, tyrannical architecture & decor, hatred of bureaucracy: I have no real idea where it all leads. Doubling, religiosity, murderous spouses. Zulawski is assured, & it's all impressive in a disconnected sort of way. 'Harrowing' is a suitable descriptor, but its mysteries cannot touch those of LE RAYON VERT.

  • smndvdcl's rating of the film Possession

    Trying to decide whether this is a transgressive cinematic Bohemian Rhapsody or an unmitigated, over-reaching mess. There's definite talent; I get how demonic possession and mental health dysfunction have been deemed parallel (albeit very speculative), and I understand the satirical nous, but Żuławski's trademark histrionics lose their allegorical edge very quickly. Audacious but wonky. 3.5

  • Zach Closs's rating of the film Possession

    So much more than the figurehead of the Cinema Brut movement. Zulawski's wildly expressionistic, practically apocalyptic reimagining of his own divorce commits incomparably honest thoughts and feelings to screen with a singular, barbarous intensity. Adjani and Neil are absolutely volcanic and Bruno Nuytten's camera circles and slingshots and weaves about the bloody, weepy pair tirelessly. Masterful and heartbreaking.

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film Possession

    This is the film that made me fall in love with Zulawski. It goes to extremes as it becomes horrifying, crazy, and humorous. It's all part of that same palatte he uses so skillfully. Now that's what I call entertainment. Adjani really threw herself into it, body and soul, and Sam Neill more than adequately kept up with her.

  • Igor Ramos's rating of the film Possession

    One star for the aesthetics and another for that famous possession scene and some of Anna's expressions. I'm all about dysfunctional marriages, crazy women and a little bit of blood and gore... but this film is bonkers. Those hysteric characters doing so much noise, fighting and shedding blood for whatever reason... it all look a bit overdone. Poor Bob!

  • Rafael Zen's rating of the film Possession

    Chaotic and immersive, Zulawski builds non-stop tension on screen. I can honestly say that this film presents one of the most fucked up female characters I've ever watched. Crazy, sexy, coocoo. If you enjoy amazing scenes and surreal plots, this is your movie delight. Hold your breath for Possession.

  • Miggy Angel's rating of the film Possession

    white middle-class people really are this hysterical and I'm glad this fly-on-the-wall anthropological documentary has finally thrown a light on how difficult white middle-class lives are what with them trying to 'bottle it up' all the time

Related films