Wednesday, February 17, 2016

pete tong.

Ye gads.

First Vanity and now Andrzej Żuławski.....The Arena is quickly turning into a cinema deadpool.

This time next week the whole thing will be full of hastily rewritten 'tribute' reviews in a vain attempt to get new (any) readers.

As is the norm, remember that this was first published in 2007 so apologises if it comes across as a semi-serious post.

I've learned my lesson since then. 

Possession (1981).
Dir: Andrzej Zulawski.

Cast: Sam Neill, Isabelle Adjani, Michael Hogben, Heinz Bennent and Dave The Octopus.

Bowl headed secret agent stick man Mark (dino' boffin and former Anti-Christ Neill) and his tres, tres foxy (if oh so slightly hat-stand) wife Anna (Adjani) live with their young (and even more bowl headed if that were possible) son Bob (Hogben) in the bleak and decaying yet painfully hip music video styled city of Berlin (playing itself).

So far so eighties.

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Mark, returning home after a dangerous mission harbours suspicions that his wife is conducting an illicit affair after coming across (not in that way, it wasn't that explicit) a love letter from a mysterious fella named Jeff Heinrich. 

His fragile state of mind isn't helped by the fact that Anna has recently confessed to having finding her hubbie boring as fuck.

Which is a fairly usual occurrence in my house.

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Deciding to try and talk thru their differences, Mark reckons it would be a great idea to go out to a local restaurant for some scrummy food and a chat  and even tho' he's booked two separate tables hopes for the best.

Or at least a wee fumble in the taxi home.

Unfortunately Anna admits to the affair during the main course (a really yummy looking seafood dish, I'll have to contact the director for the recipe someday) which unsurprisingly causes Mark to go absolutely bonkers, trashing the eatery and annoying the other couples with his pathetic wailing sound. 

Scarily Mark is actually surprised when Anna walks out on him, this time for good.

Taking this turn of events fairly badly - he's unshaven, stinks of piss and can barely speak without dribbling - Mark decides the best course of action is to keep ringing Anna and whispering "I love you!" to her every fifteen minutes whilst rocking to and fro in his bed like a big, dirty baby.

Albeit a big, dirty baby that once played Damien Thorn.

With all this family break up stuff going on you'd be forgiven for forgetting about poor wee Bob (tho' with that haircut it'd be bloody difficult), much like his parents have appeared to so it comes as a relief when Mark manages to pull himself together long enough to change his clothes, shave and feed the poor sod.

Bizarrely around the same time Anna suddenly remembers she has a son too and decides to visit.

Being the trouper that he is (or just a really bad actor) Bob sits thru his mum's return completely nonplussed, unlike his by now even more pathetic looking dad who spends the evening trying to convince Anna to leave Heinrich and come home to him and the boy.

Scarily this actually works and  after a reconciliation of sorts, Anna reluctantly agrees to Mark's embarrassingly snot filled demands.

Mark waits....and waits but Anna fails to come home.

Could things get any worse for our soon to be blockbuster starring paleontologist?

Actually no as things start to look up for Mark when he finds himself being drawn to one of Bob's teachers, the bookish Helen  who happens to be the double of his wife - except for her bright-and I mean bright- emerald eyes).

As you've probably guessed this is Adjani again, only this time in a pound shop wig and comedy specs. 


Nothing says I love you more than an unhealthy obsession tho and although fairly attracted to Helen, Mark is still bloody annoyed at his wife’s infidelity so decides - in a fit of girly pique - to track down Heinrich and sort things out man to man.

Being a Eurotrash cum arthouse movie nothing is that simple and even tho' Heinrich (Bennent) looks like a camper, tubbier, gone to seed Udo Kier, he is in fact a completely fruit-loops karate kicking, bisexual mentalist who, after confessing to the affair kicks the absolute shite out of Mark.


Nursing a broken toe and a bruised ego Mark hurriedly heads back home with the fantastic plan of hiding under his bedsheets whilst indulging in a tearful wank and a Pot Noodle so is slightly pissed off on his return to find Anna sitting with Bob discussing the finer points of his dads masturbation habits.

As is the case in these situations a huge fight erupts culminating with the pair beating the crap out of each and Anna (very sexily) legging it up the street.

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"It's ok hen, ya cannae see the join".

His grasp on reality growing ever thinner (much like his hair) Mark hires a private investigator to follow Anna home after her frequent visits to see her son whilst constantly begging and pleading with her to explain what's happening in their 'relationship'.

I've absolutely no idea how he's not figured out that she doesn't love him and is shagging someone else by now but hey, I once didn't realise that a girl I was seeing hadn't gone to the toilet during The Blob remake but was in fact having sex with a guy in the carpark even tho' the next time I saw her she was pregnant and engaged to him so there you go.

Obviously annoyed by all these questions (from both Mark and the audience) Anna decides to cut her throat with an electric carving knife. 

Mark, not to be outdone then slashes his arm with it.

Obviously unable to compete with this Anna grabs her jacket and flounces off but this time with the wedge-haircutted, Martin Fry-like PI in hot pursuit.

He sneakily follows her back to a dark, spooky apartment and, pretending to be some kind of expert on windows manages to gain entry to the flat. 

Once inside he starts to look for clues regarding Anna's secret life but is shocked (to say the least) to find not another man (or woman) but a gloopy, slimy, tentacled beast hiding in one of the darkened rooms, turning to leave he's confronted by Anna who then bludgeons him to death with a broken HP Sauce bottle.

Admit it, you never saw that coming.

Whilst all this is going on Helen visits to check on young Bob at home, giving Mark an excuse to go all weak kneed and puppy dog like. 

Which if I'm honest is way more stomach-churning than the bottling we just witnessed.

This visit seems to be a catalyst of sorts (either that or we've hit the halfway mark and there are no other characters to introduce) because suddenly he's getting more visitors than Blackpool Illuminations or your mum when your dad's away.

OK maybe not that many. 

Firstly Heinrich visits Mark, trying to find Anna, dancing about like your dad at a disco as he rants and raves about God and love (and possibly wittering on about the back catalogue of Man 2 Man and Man Parish) then Helen returns and strips naked in front of Mark for absolutely no reason.

And to make matters worse nothing happens.

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David Lo Pan's dream date.

Amazingly up until this point Bob has been coping better than both his parents but what with his mum and dad slashing bits off each other, gay Germans prancing around the house in florid shirts and his teacher wandering around in the nude it was only a matter of time before he started feeling the strain too and suddenly starts crying in the corner whilst scoffing boxes of Mueller Lite till he's sick.

Mark, assuming this is a bad things lays off the obsessiveness for a while to spend some quality time comforting poor boy.

It's during one of these yoghurt-based bonding sessions the private investigator's business partner cum lover (literally) turns up looking for his man (which doesn't show his investigating skills, private or otherwise, in a good light really) and Mark, ever helpful,  gives him the address of Anna's apartment.

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Anna was surprised at how
tall the new milkman was.

For a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown that shares a run down apartment with a tentacled cock monster Anna is quite friendly and polite to the 'tec, inviting him in and agreeing to take him to see his man friend, who she says, is in the same room as the slime covered beast.

Recoiling in fear (or maybe he's just jealous that such a skinny French bird could get all that cock) he tries to shoot Anna but his gun misfires and, screaming like only a mad woman can Anna wrestles the gun from him and 'pops a cap in his ass' as the youngsters say.

Meanwhile Mark is filing his days watching Heinrich's home video's of Anna at work at a ballet school, allegedly she's a top teacher but appears to spend most of her day abusing the students till they burst into tears, which causes Mark to think (now that's a first) that his wife may be suffering from some kind of mental illness (he's a perceptive one and no mistaking) and confronts her about this when she returns to his apartment looking for clothes.

Tho' surely he would have taken his keys back by now?

Never mind this is art we're watching, it's not meant to make sense.

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A mad, mental (and very damp)
French woman yesterday.

Anna takes this very badly (no surprises there) and starts scratching herself violently, talking bollocks and indulging in freaky flashbacks that not only include her angrily grunting at a statue of Jesus in a church but also shouting and swearing in a deserted underpass whilst giving birth to a big red and black blob whilst oozing salad cream from every orifice.

Which, if I'm honest is quite possibly one of the sexiest things I have ever seen.

All this romantic chit-chat comes to an end when Heinrich phones Mark, it seems he wants Anna back too, so Mark obviously wanting to share the love gives him Anna's address whilst s
neakily Mark forgetting to mention the breakdown, grunting, mutant baby birthing etc.

Yup, there's hope for him yet.

Later that day and armed only with a bunch of petrol station flowers Heinrich arrives at the apartment to get their relationship back on track.

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I don't know what's more disturbing, the shitty flowers,
the white disco suit or the piss yellow flock wallpaper.

Anna appears happy to see Heinrich and invites him in for coffee, unfortunately she's forgotten that she's storing bits of bodies in her fridge and is living with a beast which means that Heinrich gets a wee bit scared when he goes to get the milk.

Being a woman and as always never one to overreact, Anna jumps on him and administers a good kicking before Heinrich manages to escape and call his new best mate Mark for help.

Come to think of it  the pair of them should hook up really, they've a lot in common.

Mark (having a window in his crying/whining/not having sex with his sons teacher diary) listens intently before formulating a frankly fantastic plan which involves turning up at Anna's apartment whilst she's at work and rigging the place up it with a shed load of dynamite before going to meet Heinrich in a seedy toilet to celebrate.

Heinrich by this point is a bit nervous, pissing uncontrollably over his shoes and demanding hush money from Mark.

Unfortunately he (and us if you're honest) have forgotten that Mark is a secret agent so his reply is fairly Bondian.

No he doesn't shag him to a lush John Barry score but beats him into unconsciousness before drowning him in a cubicle.

Then he blows up Anna's flat.

Chuckling happily to himself Mark returns home with a plan to relax with some more fast food fist fun but instead finds the babysitter dead on the hall carpet.

On the plus side tho' Anna is sitting seductively on the sofa and in need of the sex. 

Mark is happy to oblige but just at the moment of climax gets annoyed by Bob wandering in and screaming at the sight of Sam Neill's skinny pink arse thrusting atop his mum.

This turn of events causes Anna to run off.


As he's about to give chase Heinrich's mum rings looking for her son and Mark (forgetting to mention that he's killed Heinrich, look he's busy) quickly hangs up deciding that it's time to confront Anna once and for all and after getting Helen to babysit Bob (which is becoming a dangerous thing to do) arranges to meet Anna at Heinrich's pad.

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Finding the door ajar and hearing a strange moaning noise coming from inside Mark sneaks into the apartment only to find Anna having sweaty, sticky (and very oozy) naked tentacled sex with the cock creature moaning "Almost....almost.....almost" repeatedly as it undulates and thrust upon her.....

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"Put it in me!" "Which one?"

And if that wasn't enough to justify the rental fee, it now appears that Mark's spy bosses have decided that they want him dead (how's your luck?), cue an exciting chase scene that would make Jason Bourne green with envy which culminates with Mark, bloodied and broken calling on Anna for help.

She appears, her 'lover' in tow, only now it looks exactly like Mark.

And to make matters worse the shadowy assassins have also arrived, intent on killing the real Mark.....

Much has been written regarding director Andrzej Zulawski's genre defying Possession, mostly by people much cleverer and way better at spelling than me but heyho, I'll give it a shot. 

At once a perfect example of film as therapy (Zulawski is on record as saying the film was made to exorcise the demons of his recent divorce), a rallying cry against state sanctioned film production and a dry look at life in a fractured city, It's a film that challenges the viewer on every level.

Shit, did I really just type that?

This is beginning to look like an issue of Sight And Sound.

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A pale French ankle socks.

Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani give absolutely magnificent performances, as does the great Heinz Bennent who is almost precursor to Frank Booth in David Lynch's masterpiece Blue Velvet whilst Carlo Rambaldi's humanoid/squid/cock hybrid makes you almost forgive him for unleashing ET on the world.

But not quite.

Anyway before any of you start to think that this is a serious cinema blog you have to imagine the effect the movie had on an impressionable 12 year old boy who sneakily got his hands on it after reading the rave review Starburst magazine gave it.

Sod the guff about art, cinema and challenging performances it had an exotic raven haired, pale skinned foreign actress having sex with a monster in it!!!

And for that I salute you Mr.

God bless and thank you.

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Unknown said...

Mmmm, Isabelle. She was great in Herzog's Nosferatu remake, which I saw just the other night. The more I see Eva Green, the more I realise she totally emulates Adjani.

Ashton Lamont said...

And that's why we love her! :)