"Possession", from Tuna
Possession was directed by Andrzej Zulawski and
shot on location in Berlin in 1981. It was done
in English because the producer was hoping it
would do well in the US. While it was well
received in France, and won Adjani a best actress
award at Cannes, it was cut from it's original
123 minutes to 81 for a US release. Most people
who have seen both versions say the shortened one
made no sense. I viewed the full-length directors
cut, and it still made no sense.
It is a story of a
failing marriage, and a wife who abandons her
family and her lover to have a relationship with
a mutating monster of her own creation. The
monster starts off looking like a tree trunk with
a mouth, becomes sort of octopus like, then
resembles her husband at the end. I won't even
try to relate more of the plot which is mostly
incomprehensible. In the feature length
commentary, Zulawski says the film is
autobiographical, so we must assume that his wife
left him for an octopus.
For me, this film had
nothing going for it other than Adjani's breasts.
She screened the movie for the first time and
attempted suicide. For me, it was horribly
over-acted, shot in the drab greys of Berlin, and
was impossible to follow. Some reviewers saw a
lot I didn't. They call it the most frightening
piece of horror ever filmed. They point to a
scene where Adjani either gives birth to the
monster or has a miscarriage or both in a subway
station as horrifying and almost ballet-like.
Looked more to me like a grande mal seizure
followed by a loss of bowel and bladder control.
The films supporters also say that the director
purposely leaves holes and ambiguities so the
viewer can have the fun of making sense of the
whole thing. His idea of fun and mine are very
different, I suppose. I was very grateful when it
I agree completely. If
you now respect the French film industry, don't
watch this, because they awarded Adjani for a
performance that would have stood out as an
embarrassment in an elementary school Easter
pageant, even if Keanu Reeves played Christ. By
the way, it wasn't literally autobiographical. He
changed some details. For example, Zulawski's
real wife left him for a squid, not an octopus.
Isabel Adjani (1,
and Juliet", from Johnny Web
OK, it isn't as good as
"Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity", but
it will have to do.
Seriously, what more can
I say? Shakespeare is the greatest wordsmith in
the history of the language. Zefferelli is almost
as much a master of the visual arts as
Shakespeare was of the written and spoken word.
Olivia Hussey was a great beauty, very young,
with an enormous natural chest. Milo O'Shea is
arguably the greatest character actor in history.
"Romeo and Juliet" is probably the most
familiar creative work in the history of the
human race. Approach this movie with awe and
wonderment. It has flaws (some of the acting is
just adequate), but the words and pictures and
music are not among them.
Hussey had another
Katharine Ross career, but worse still, she
always seemed to be an unhappy woman, never able
to enjoy the life that her great beauty and
talent should have afforded her. The critical and
financial disaster Lost Horizon soured her
career, and four years after Romeo she was in
movies like "Silent Night, Evil Night",
and migrated from there to Norma Bates in Psycho
4. I always thought it must be dificult for those
like Albert Brooks and Katharine Ross, whose
careers peaked in their early 20's, but what
about Hussey, whose career peaked at 17?
Olivia Hussey (1,
from Johnny Web
1988 Grade B horror/gore
film ala Friday the 13th with an insane killer, a
family in an isolated location, and a few
half-hearted red herrings to distract you from
the killer's identity. Beautiful, creative
opening credits, then a deadbeat movie with some
obviously amateur actors. Skip it.
By the way, despite the
entry in the IMDb, Helen Hunt is not in this
Jill Pierce (1,
There is no nudity in
"Snow Falling on Cedars" or "Miss
Julie", which came out yesterday on DVD. I
is a stagy adaptation of Strindberg's Miss Julie,
starring Saffrom Burrows. If you aren't familiar
with Strindberg, he was a depressing symbolist
intellectual whose literary stock in trade was
the struggle for power in human relationships. He
wrote almost no dialogue, no action, and no plot.
His characters speak in lengthy speeches,
directed more from the playwright to the audience
than from character to character. Miss Julie is a
haughty aristocrat who toys with her servant, but
loses the control role in the relationship when
she allows herself to fall in love with him. When
he gets control, he takes some sadistic delight
in giving her back what she gave out.
Avoid it unless you are
already familiar with what is entailed in a
Snow Falling on Cedars
is one helluva movie. Superwuss Ethan Hawke plays
a reporter covering the trial of the man who
married Hawke's childhood sweetheart and one true
love. The man on trial and the wife are
Japanese-Americans who were interned in WW2.
Hawke has to find the courage to expose the
truth, even if it leads down a path that will
send the accused back to his wife, thereby losing
her to Hawke forever. Complex story with eerie
Pacific Northwest photography. Brilliant
secondary performance by Max von Sydow as an
immigrant lawyer who challenges Americans on the
jury to be worthy of the country that he
struggled to enter. The movie doesn't preach
about the internment camps, but their existence
is a palpable presence in the film.
(For those of you
unaware of what I'm talking about, here's the
deal. In a shameful stain on the pages of
American history, Japanese Americans on the West
Coast were herded into detention camps in WW2,
often losing all their property, except what they
could carry with them. It would have been
unthinkable to do this with Italian-Americans or
German-Americans, but the Japanese were the
misunderstood outsiders in a Eurocentric society.
Although the American parallel fell far short of
the National Socialist extremes,
European-Americans often failed to see the
obvious parallels between this and the German
treatment of misunderstood minorities.)
Anyway, if you're a film
buff, this is a must-have for your collection.