Yesterday I pulled a banal box from my mailbox, a cardboard box with heft and love, for I knew what lied inside this mysterious banality. It was the velvet-boxed POSSESSION Blu-Ray from Mondo Vision. I trembled open the package on the kitchen counter with a pair of cheap scissors and dared to examine the contents. But who can resist? I tore it open. It held gorgeous film prints, illustrations, a mini-poster (in Japanese), a slick book of essays, and not one, but two discs: one, the film, the second, its soundtrack. The velvet I held in my hands was numbered. Only 2000 in existence. Thank God for an afternoon with no appointments.
The Blu-Ray transfer is magnificent. As is often the case with Blu-Ray, one is able to experience things on screen that DVDs somehow managed to make mute. In this case, the difference is tremendous. The dark shade of blue in a doorway in the background. Adjani’s skin. The blood and the milk. Meat. A Berlin starkness. Yes, this is what I had been waiting so eagerly for, this submersion into the pristine. It is as if someone had taken the original transfer of the film and intensified it (or was this clarity always the reality?). Rarely am I so happy to experience cinema in the comfort of my home. I, dear reader, was possessed by the care taken in the presentation and execution of this package.
The disc with the film contains an insightful audio commentary track by Zulawski and Daniel Bird, as well as, among other tiny gems including the trailer: a “Making Of” documentary that, alone, is worth the price of admission. I learned of the history of the film, the political world in which it was created, the extent of its personal/autobiographical angle, and met some key players (Zulawski included–extensively) who helped bring the film to life. A separate Zulawski-only interview is also on the disc and, needless to say, is incredible.
And I have not even talked about the essays. This is the definitive collection for those of us in awe with this baffling, yet magical film. It will become a bit of an obsession with me as I re-watch and learn to re-explore POSSESSION through the frames of how the various thinkers involved attempt to wrap their minds around the film.
If you are “on the fence” about whether or not to purchase this product, and are moved by the film, by all means, I would say, by all means, dear reader, leap up and over the fence, for the view on the other side is perfect.