“To My Love, From My Love”: Discussing Andrzej Żuławski’s “Possession”

“I wrote the film not out of self-indulgence, but I thought – it’s like when you build a house, you have the ground floor – here, the reality of a marriage breaking up – and then you need a second floor, you need something to transpose the story, something that gives it meaning. It’s like in fairy tales where you have something ordinary and then you have a witch or a devil, something out of the ordinary. The first part of the film establishes an ordinary situation and then it goes one level above in order to give it a mythical dimension.”Andrzej Żuławski

Similar to so many viewers since its release, Andrzej Żuławski‘s film, Possession (1981) has remained a work of cinema I revisit frequently, compelled by its surreal nihilism, gestural tensions, and vigorous resistance to either allegory or metaphor. Perhaps no film better embodies Hamlet‘s revelation, “The time is out of joint…” as Isabelle Adjani‘s Anna finds herself inhabiting two places simultaneous, manifesting a new temporality which neither the film’s characters or audience can overcome.

Recently, Gary Sargenson, co-host of the Cinema Subculture podcast, frequent Film Jive contributor and friend, generously invited me onto his show to discuss Possession and further consider its unexpected rhythms and fluid, Cold War spaces.

The episode is available on Youtube here or listen via the embedded video below:

Published by Zachary Betonte

Zachary Betonte is a moving image artist currently working in Durham, North Carolina.

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