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France/West Germany 1981. Dir: Andrzej Żuławski. 127 min. 35mm

“May be the only film in existence which is itself mad ... Extreme but essential viewing.”

35mm PRINT | Andrzej Żuławski’s object nightmare (and best-known film) is a brilliant, batshit look at marital disintegration and psychological collapse as viewed through a prism of Hell. The renegade auteur penned this capital-C cult masterpiece during his split from wife and favourite leading lady Małgorzata Braunek. It features a mesmerizingly-unhinged Isabelle Adjani as the unhappy wife of a spy (Sam Neill), whose want for divorce triggers an apocalyptic storm of hysterical meltdowns, gory violence, manic jealously, and can’t-unsee copulation with a Lovecraftian squid-monster! Adjani, crowned Best Actress at Cannes for her role, earns her stripes (and then some) with a tour-de-force freak-out in a subway corridor that’s more performance art than performance; cinematographer Bruno Nuytten’s frenetic, roving camerawork keeps the image teetering on the edge of insanity. Banned in the UK and butchered for its North American release — ironic, as it is Żuławski’s only English-language film — Possession screens here in its revelatory, restored, full-length cut.