There are marriages on the rocks and then there's the fever-pitch nonbliss between Mark (Neill) and Anna (Adjani) in this head-spinning masterpiece from Poland's Andrzej Zulawski (That Most Important Thing: Love). Mere seconds after the unhappy couple reunites outside their Berlin apartment---Mark has been away on some undisclosed bit of business---they're already at each other's throats about abandoned responsibilities and purported infidelities. Their bleating would be the frenzied climax of a good many movies, but Zulawski, whose own divorce reportedly inspired this gaping-wound Rorschach blotch, is out to shatter any and all conventional expectations.
Prepare yourself: Things only get crazier as Mark is consumed by jealous rage, and the manic Anna retreats to a decrepit apartment, where something literally monstrous is gestating. Doppelgngers materialize, Mark has several hilarious run-ins with a spastic karate-chopping horndog, and Anna has a subway-tunnel seizure of such bat-shit intensity that it surely helped solidify Adjani's Best Actress win at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival. Possession incorporates more and more fantastical elements as it goes on---such as a spectacular goo-and-gore-covered creature built by E.T. designer Carlo Rambaldi---but the story somehow remains rooted in the harsh realities of human experience. That the film is much more than a gawk-at-it freak show is testament to Zulawski's talent for making even the most exaggerated behavior resonate with pointed and potent emotion.
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