Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Performances I Love: Isabelle Adjani in Possession

By Sati. Tuesday, October 23, 2012 , , ,

I can't exist by myself because I'm afraid of myself, because I'm the maker of my own evil.

Possession is a very difficult movie to get through - disturbing, bizarre and all in all hard to watch. It shows the destruction of marriage using many creepy plot devices, strange metaphors and often borders on horror movie, with all the examples of body horror that happen here. But it's all worth it because of Isabelle Adjani's performance in the film. I have yet to see The Story of Adele H. which features what is frequently called one of the best portrayals of madness in movies and it's also provided by Adjani, but for me, her work in Possession is absolutely hypnotizing.

Adjani plays two different women - self destructive Anna who wants out of her marriage and sweet and kind Helen. Adjani's work is at best when she is Anna, unpredictable, insane and completely lost. Her blue dress, manic eyes and her shame, anger and frenzy make her into a character you can't stop thinking about. Anna is shown mutilating herself many times in the movie, resenting her husband and falling deeper and deeper into her madness.
Ultimately her hidden desires and obsessions create an actualmonster (creature fabricated by E.T.’s designer, Carlo Rambaldi) that makes her to terrible things, that she wants to keep alive and that ultimately brings her even farther from her husband. She is also shown to be having breakdowns of different nature - both religious and sexual.

The most intense moment of the movie is when Anna is having some sort of seizure/tantrum in an underground passage which ends with her miscarriage - or what can be interpreted as the birth of the monster that we see in the movie. Sounds crazy? It really is. Adjani's work in that scene is downright shocking. She told a French magazine that it took her several years to get over playing Anna. She also said that she'd never take on a similar role.

This performance won Adjani the best actress prize at Cannes, although the director recalls that upon her initial viewing of the film she retreated to the nearest bathroom to feign cutting her wrists. Possession is definetly not a film for everyone, but it's like a combination of David Lynch and David Cronenberg's styles and Adjani's work is really something amazing to see.
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21 comments:

  1. Wow, no wonder it took her a while to get over this role. I could handle some horror movies, but body horror is something I REALLY can't get into. Btw, Adjani is absolutely beautiful, I think I've only seen a couple of her films though.

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    1. I love body horror movies because that's the only type of horror that grosses me out - I genuinely think the best diet technique is watching The Fly every day for a week :)

      She really is, such a beauty!

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    2. Ahahaha, yeah I think you're right about watching The Fly as a good diet technique, definitely would put you off food for weeks!!

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    3. I couldn't eat for a day after I saw it, that is one disgusting movie :)

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  2. Very simply...I need to see this.

    Now.

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    1. I'd love to read your review of this!

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    2. Damn. I just attempted to put it in my queue, but it's not available. At all.
      Grrr....

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    3. Yeah it's kinda hard to find...maybe it's on youtube or something? They sometimes upload little known films there.

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    1. I hope you'll enjoy the movie - well that's not the right word here because of the content... - find it worthy of your time :)

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  4. I still haven't seen this, but it looks awesome! I'll try to watch this and Angel Heart next week.

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    1. Angel Heart is more entertaining I think, but Possession is slightly more creepy :)

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  5. I'm glad you chose this scene because I didn't even know about this film before. I don't think I've seen Isabelle Adjani's work either. The photos look extremely creepy I have to say.

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    1. You should see her films - she is always great in them and she was in few really great movies. The film gets even creepier :)

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  6. "a combination of David Lynch and David Cronenberg's styles" sounds interesting. I haven't seen Possession (1981), looks insane from the trailer!

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    1. It is very insane, very unique film, I think you may like it!

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  7. Great post, I agree that it is a hard film to get through but there is no denying the intensity and rawness of Adjani's performance.

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    1. Thanks! She totally made the movie work for me.

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  8. This looks like a movie I probably wouldn't be able to sit through. I definitely wouldn't watch it sober. :-P You do make it look intriguing, though. Great post!

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    1. Thank you! Well next time you're not sober and have a courage to see that you totally should, it may make it easier to watch :)

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  9. [Edited slightly]:Hey everyone,I just watched the entire film yesterday on YouTube. And boy does it give me the chills up to this day. Especially due to Isabelle Adjani's harrowing performance as Anna; she was completely manic! It's as if she was indeed possessed or she truly was akin to a real-life mental patient there. I'm shocked that she has managed to dissociate herself from her character after that.If I were her,I'd probably have been damaged or been checked into an asylum after immersing myself in that role. It can psychologically affect you and tear your soul apart if you dwell on the implicit themes or undertones that this movie gives for too long). Anyway,I won't bother elaborating further. My narration of it will not do any justice to how explicitly gory and disturbing this film is. But I've gotta say,it's probably the best horror/psychological thriller that I've seen to date.

    Btw,this is apparently the uncut version.


    Part 1:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVYLlfPoOVc

    Part 2:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59F0LwyYeZQ


    Don't be surprised if you feel like throwing up after viewing certain scenes. I know I did. Left me numb for intervals too. They were so bloody realistic;they made me feel as though I was really thrust into them. You know those moments when you feel physically ill in response to certain stimuli or events? Yup,definitely experienced that too. The visual aspects of the film (particularly the scene in which Anna had a miscarriage (of a possible demon baby or probably that child was in fact,Mark's...i have no idea) in a subway as she vomited milk all down her mouth and dress as the blood oozed out from underneath it and the part in which she fornicated with the grotesquely monstrous tentacled specimen) definitely have a lasting impact on me as far as I'm concerned.


    Anyway,I'd still recommend this flick to you. It's a rarity to find such masterpieces like this nowadays that do not rely on cheesy special effects and formulaic plot lines to keep the audience hanging on tenterhooks. The brilliant acting by the cast especially will REALLY drive you towards the very edge and you'll come out thinking, "I'll never wish this on my worst foes even.". And of course,not to mention the dark,twisted style of direction. I shall end this note by saying, "Appreciate it as it is.". Oh and um... Isabelle Adjani FTW!! :P

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