Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"Possession" by Andrzej Zulawksi

A film that makes you not want to watch it again. Not because it's a bad film but because the subject matter is portrayed too realistically, even though the movie is a combination of fantasy and non-realistic psychological representations.

Possession is about a fight between a husband and wife who live in West Berlin over the wife's desire to leave him. The guy is some sort of spy and has come back after a year long mission to find that his wife has essentially left him for another man although she hasn't mentioned anything and initially acts like everything is ok. They have a kid, which makes the thing even more tension filled.

It's a very uneven fight. The man is psychologically abusive to her in the extreme once he finds out what's happening and branches out into physical violence during one of the many screaming matches early in the movie. His wife leaves that one with blood streaming down her face from her nose and mouth. It turns into a typical abusive relationship, with the wife eventually becoming paralyzed psychologically and continuing contact with him instead of just reporting him to the police.

The film branches off very gradually into pure psychological fantasy and projection, where psychology has invaded reality. The woman establishes her own place in a slum warehouse district, apart from both her husband and her nice but somewhat air head lover, and starts to lure people there to kill in order to feed this sort of semi-vegetable beast who is slowly becoming more human. But that's only the most obvious lapse into fantasy. The logic of the film becomes so extreme that you question whether or not some of the realistically rendered scenes are in reality reflections of how the people internally feel instead of what is literally happening.

In the end, everyone either dies, commits suicide, is shot by multiple gun men, all in one medium length set of scenes, that involves multiple car explosions as well. Even the son commits suicide by drowning himself in the bathtub, which he runs up the stairs to enthusiastically do.

The ending of the film is particularly creative because unlike experimental films in the U.S., and to some extent in places like France and England as well, there's no resolution of what's fantasy, what's reality, and how fantasy connects to reality. It just ends with everything up in the air, with no easy out saying what the ultimate meaning of it is. No giving a moralistic sugar coated final meaning to it, no demonstration of a particular principle, it just goes down into psychological and fantasy/ dream derangement and stops.

No comments: